ESTRO 2020

Session Item

November 28
07:00 - 07:40
The evolution of RTT leadership in radiation oncology
Teaching Lecture
08:00 - 08:40
The evolution of RTT leadership in radiation oncology


The evolution of RTT leadership in radiation oncology
Authors: Coffey|, Mary(1)*[];
(1)Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Discipline of Radiation Therapy- School of Medicine, Dublin, Ireland;
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Abstract Text
Abstract text

Firstly we need to consider what is a leader, how a leader evolves, the relationship between a leader and leadership and what we want from a leader of RTTs in the current and future environment. The business dictionary defines a leader as a person or thing that holds a dominant or superior position within its field, and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others ( The Collins dictionary defines a leader of a group of people or an organization is the person who is in control of it or in charge of it. Based on this narrow bsiness approach there are many RTT leaders in radiation oncology but do they actually demonstrate leadership or are they managing a service which, of course, is also valid? In a profession that, in the majority of countries, has no defined career pathway how can leaders rather than managers evolve? To support the evolution of leaders who are not necessarily managers but can come from any level within the team we need to take a broader view of the factors underpinning leadership. For the RTT profession to grow in the coming decades we must consider a leader as someone with a vision, who wants to bring about improvement and who guides and supports others to also become leaders. Professor Sandra Turner proposed that leadership in radiation oncology enables optimal clinical services and patient care, supports research and education and encourages initiatives at local, national and global level. Whilst there are many individual examples of leadership evolution amongst RTT community globally they are often in an individual silo with a predominantly local impact. The evolution of leadership from a pure management approach to one of vision and forward thinking impacting the totality of the profession is clearly demonstrated amongst the members of the ESTRO RTT community. Encompassing all elements of RTT practice and education members of this community are excellent examples of the evolution of leadership over three decades. Bringing their unique knowledge and skills they have supported the global growth of the profession from both a clinical and academic perspective. Dissemination of science through conferences, short courses, workshop and publications has grown exponentially over this period enabling colleagues to improve their own practice and thereby the care offered to patients. Coupled with the Train the Trainers project RTTs have been empowered to become directly involved in influencing the education standards within their local or national environment. The extensive network established has provided a platform for discussion and the evolution of shared vision for the future of the RTT profession and is a clear example of the evolution of leadership within our community.