The given paper will primarily focus on the career path of the radiographer and the implications of future career-related changes in regard to technology and certifications required for qualification. The identified career path is a radiography professional who uses imaging technology to create and take images of a patient’s internal body systems without dissection. The main reason I chose this career path is its prospects for future growth as a specialist and my personal passion and interest in the field. The social issue is centered around the professional community, which is experiencing a significant increase in responsibilities and skills needed for complete preparedness alongside job security concerns due to technological advancements and innovations.
Research-Based Career Path Social Issue
It should be noted that there is a growing concern in regard to the future of radiography as a career path. The professional community feels threatened by the integration of artificial intelligence or AI as well as the growing list of additional responsibilities and required qualifications. In other words, novel technologies are being designed to replace radiographers, and thus, the radiographer community is concerned with the potential error ramifications of such systems. The professionals are tasked with responsibilities that have high-risk implications, such as the well-being and health of patients. In addition, radiographers are also worried about their careers being automated. In response, institutions and organizations are increasing the list of qualification requirements, which increases the workload in an already high-stress career.
The current literature reveals how such concerns are real and based on two major components, which are technology and qualification alterations. Cross-sectional research suggests that although the professional community of radiographers has positive views of AI integration, there are also a series of concerns (Botwe et al., 2021). The latter includes salary reduction, job displacement, and AI-related errors (Botwe et al., 2021). In other words, despite the potential benefits of AI, it threatens the careers of radiographers as well as the well-being and health of patients. For example, AI might bring more efficiency to the radiographic process, but it also can lead to major imaging mistakes, which can determine whether or not a patient has a tumor. Therefore, radiography is not a mere algorithmic process because it requires a keen eye of a trained professional to work around the limitations of imaging technology.
Another major aspect of the identified social issue is centered around the increasing number of responsibilities and required qualifications. A study suggests that implementing post-qualification community service demonstrates how the radiography educational process is becoming more demanding (Johnson et al., 2019). In other words, the number of steps a radiography student must complete to work directly with patients is increasing. For example, in the near future, it is possible that completing a degree in radiography might not be sufficient. One might need to undergo additional community service procedures in order to obtain a full level of qualification. Therefore, the career path of the professional community is becoming even more challenging despite the current stressfulness of the profession.
Application of Theory
The identified theory for the social issue of the professional community of radiographers is the self-determination theory of motivation. It is stated that the given theoretical framework explains how people are motivated to develop and grow due to inherent psychological needs (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). More specifically, these needs are focused on the fulfillment of autonomy, connection, and competence, and the psychological analysis will focus on the concepts of autonomy and competence (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2019). In other words, a person’s motivation for growth is dictated by his or her need to gain more autonomy, connectedness, and competence. For example, a radiographer will be motivated to develop as a professional if he or she is given an opportunity to be more independent, interconnected with the community, and competent in his or her area of expertise. Therefore, the systems of motivation need to be established with thorough incorporation of these three elements.
The self-determination theory of motivation is relevant in the case of growing concerns in the radiographer community because technology endangers autonomy and additional qualification requirements threaten competence. In other words, integrating AI into radiography will create a certain degree of competition between a radiographer’s decision and an AI’s decision. Therefore, such a professional will no longer retain his or her autonomy in making critical decisions in regard to taking images of the patients. In addition, the implementation of post-qualification requirements for radiography questions the competence of radiographers by putting more steps for gaining certification. Thus, a radiographer, who successfully completed his or her degree, is still considered incompetent to work directly with a patient as a full professional. These strains on the professional community create a demotivating effect on the members, which might reduce the incentives for growth and development.
Research-Based Analysis of Social Issue
The post-qualification requirement has a major impact on a micro or individual level. As with any career choice with high levels of training requirements, additional steps might lead to more filtering of potentially qualified candidates (Johnson et al., 2019). Therefore, more challenges do not necessarily translate to more benefit, but it certainly decreases the motivation of young radiographers by the self-determination theory of motivation. The integration of AI into radiography has a macro or structural level impact. It affects the autonomy of the entire professional community by adding another potential decision-maker to the radiography process (Botwe et al., 2021). Therefore, two prospective changes affect the professional community on different scales.
Research-Based Synthesis of Social Issue Solutions
The plausible solution for the post-qualification requirement can be done in two ways. The first solution is to fully remove the requirement and make competence-related changes in the educational pre-qualification process. The second solution is to give radiographers more freedom and autonomy for placement choice by navigating through the placement preference (Johnson et al., 2019). The solution for AI integration is to design it as an assistive technology rather than a job displacement tool, which will preserve the autonomy of radiographers (Botwe et al., 2021). Therefore, professionals will be more motivated to grow and develop since their two key psychological needs are fulfilled.
Firstly, the potential threat from AI made me realize that no career is free from the technological automation effect. Although I considered radiography as such before gaining this knowledge, I am still determined to pursue the career since I know that AI can also benefit both professionals and patients. Secondly, the potential implementation of the post-qualification requirement reinforced my desire to pursue a radiography career since the demand for outstanding specialists will likely increase.
Botwe, B. O., Antwi, W. K., Arkoh, S., & Akudjedu, T. N. (2021). Radiographers’ perspectives on the emerging integration of artificial intelligence into diagnostic imaging: The Ghana study. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 68(3), 260–268. Web.
Johnson, B. B., Makanjee, C. R., & Hoffmann, W. A. (2019). The emerging radiographer’s transient community service professional career pathway. Health SA Gesondheid, 24, 1-10. Web.
Pastorino, E. E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. M. (2019). What is Psychology?: Foundations, applications, and integration (4th ed.). Cengage Learning.