THE ASSESSMENT OF SPATIAL ABILITY AS A SELECTION TOOL FOR RADIOTHERAPY
 
Bogg, J. and Waywell, L., University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
 
Radiotherapists require the ability to perceive three-dimensional relationships, in order to position patients correctly for treatment. A test predicting this would therefore be useful during undergraduate selection. This study examines whether radiotherapists have a greater spatial ability than the general population, and secondly the relationship between spatial and clinical ability. A correlation design utilised 54 radiotherapists. Each subject undertook 3 tests: 2 spatial ability tests; WAIS block test (WBT) and Lego block test (LBT), and a clinical set-up (CS). Results indicate that radiotherapists have a significant higher level of spatial ability, p >.001, than the general population in the 25-34 year age group. Pearsons correlation of WBT with LBT (r =0.56, p = < 0.0005) demonstrated concurrent validity of the new LBT. The results of changes in spatial ability scores during under-graduate training will also be presented. The introduction of routine testing for spatial ability during undergraduate selection may be beneficial in identifying future clinical competency. Whilst a potential useful instrument has been identified further research needs to be undertaken in this area as spatial ability is only one factor required for clinical competence.