Breast compression – An exploration of problem solving and decision-making in mammography

NIGHTINGALE, Julie, MURPHY, F.J., ROBINSON, L., NEWTON-HUGHES, A. and HOGG, P. (2015). Breast compression – An exploration of problem solving and decision-making in mammography. Radiography, 21 (4), 364-369.

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Objective: Breast compression decreases radiation dose and reduces potential for motion and geometric unsharpness, yet there is variability in applied compression force within and between some centres. This article explores the problem solving process applied to the application of breast compression force from the mammography practitioners' perspective. Methods: A qualitative analysis was undertaken using an existing full data set of transcribed qualitative data collected in a phenomenological study of mammography practitioner values, behaviours and beliefs. The data emerged from focus groups conducted at six NHS breast screening centres in England (participant n = 41), and semi-structured interviews with mammography educators (n = 6). A researcher followed a thematic content analysis process to extract data related to mammography compression problem solving, developing a series of categories, themes and sub-themes. Emerging themes were then peer-validated by two other researchers, and developed into a model of practice. Results: Seven consecutive stages contributed towards compression force problem solving: assessing the request; first impressions; explanations and consent; handling the breast and positioning; applying compression force; final adjustments; feedback. The model captures information gathering, problem framing, problem solving and decision making which inform an ‘ideal’ compression scenario. Behavioural problem solving, heuristics and intuitive decision making are reflected within this model. Conclusion: The application of compression should no longer be considered as one single task within mammography, but is now recognised as a seven stage problem solving continuum. This continuum model is the first to be applied to mammography, and is adaptable and transferable to other radiography practice settings.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breast screening, Compression, Focus groups, Qualitative problem solving, Decision making
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Health and Well-being > Department of Allied Health Professions
Identification Number:
Page Range: 364-369
Depositing User: Julie Nightingale
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 15:35
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 15:19

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