Black Asian and ethnically diverse student experiences in radiotherapy education - A UK survey

Louise Codd, Daksha Trivedi, Aarthi Ramlaul

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse student experiences in radiotherapy education - A UK survey

Louise Codd1,2, Professor Daksha Trivedi3, Dr Aarthi Ramlaul4
1University of Hertfordshire, Department of Allied health professions, Midwifery and Social work, Hatfield, United Kingdom. 2Mount Vernon cancer centre, Radiotherapy department, Northwood, United Kingdom. 3University of Hertfordshire, School of Health and Social work, Hatfield, United Kingdom. 4Buckinghamshire New University, School of Health and social care professions, High Wycombe, United Kingdom

Interdisciplinary: Education in radiation oncology
awards gap, student experience, ethnically diverse

In UK higher education (HE) longstanding data indicates there is an awarding gap (Advance HE 2020b), a picture replicated in the US, Australia, and some European HE institutions (Cramer et al 2021). Currently, in the UK, students from Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse backgrounds have an 8.8% reduction in their chance of achieving a ‘good’ degree (2.1 or higher) in comparison to students from white backgrounds, rising to an 18.4% gap between students from Black backgrounds in relation to White students (Universities UK 2022). This disparity in awards cannot be explained by controlling for factors such as entry qualification, age, sex, or socioeconomic background (Broecke & Nicholls 2007).
Much of the evidence base derives from programmes delivered in the academic setting with a paucity of research from health-related programmes where ethnically diverse students are required to navigate the dual learning environments of the higher education institution and clinical placement site. To support attainment, links have been made between developing problem-based learning approaches and inclusive curriculum to reduce the awarding gap in radiography (Lawal, Ramlaul & Murphy 2021). However, there is a lack of evidence on the impact of courses containing a clinical practice element on awards and attainment for students from Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse backgrounds, with no research at the time of submission on differential attainment in placement performance (Nightingale et al 2022) or therapeutic radiography specifically.
The purpose of this doctoral study was to explore the experiences of radiotherapy students from Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse backgrounds in the placement and university setting, gaining student views on how these experiences impact their success and perceptions of their future profession.

Undergraduate students self-identifying as coming from Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse backgrounds studying radiotherapy were invited to participate in an online survey. Survey questions were generated via a workshop with five therapeutic radiography student collaborators (self-identifying as coming from ethnically diverse backgrounds themselves) at a single UK HE institution (Codd, Ramlaul & Trivedi 2023).
A descriptive analysis of the closed questions and thematic analysis of the free text responses utilising NVivo was carried out.

Results indicated a broadly positive placement and university learning experience with students generally feeling a sense of belonging at their academic institutions and clinical placement sites. However, experiences of witnessing and being subjected to microaggressions and overt racism in the placement setting were recounted.
A range of perceptions around success as being attributed to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors was seen, with pressure to succeed felt to come from a variety of sources, in some instances impacting mental health. Students reported their experiences in placement had in general, made them feel enthused about joining the profession and were resoundingly positive about seeing therapeutic radiographers who reflected their ethnicity in senior and advanced practice roles.
Eradicating incidents of racism and microaggressions in clinical placement sites is critical, with the development of proactive, anti-racist strategies. Further research highlighting underrepresented student voices, to embed their narratives within clinical education initiatives is central to reducing the awarding gap.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2024
EventThe European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 May 20247 May 2024


ConferenceThe European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology
Abbreviated titleESTRO 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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