Compression force behaviours : an exploration of the beliefs and values influencing the application of breast compression during screening mammography

Murphy, FJ ORCID:, Nightingale, JM, Hogg, P ORCID:, Robinson, L, Seddon, D and Mackay, S 2015, 'Compression force behaviours : an exploration of the beliefs and values influencing the application of breast compression during screening mammography' , Radiography, 21 (1) , pp. 30-35.

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This research project investigated the compression behaviours of practitioners during screening mammography. The study sought to provide a qualitative understanding of ‘how’ and ‘why’ practitioners apply compression force. With a clear conflict in the existing literature and little scientific evidence base to support the reasoning behind the application of compression force, this research project investigated the application of compression using a phenomenological approach.

Following ethical approval, six focus group interviews were conducted at six different breast screening centres in England. A sample of 41 practitioners were interviewed within the focus groups together with six one- to- one interviews of mammography educators or clinical placement co-ordinators.

The findings revealed two broad humanistic and technological categories consisting of 10 themes. The themes included client empowerment, white-lies, time for interactions, uncertainty of own practice, culture, power, compression controls, digital technology, dose audit-safety nets, numerical scales. All of these themes were derived from 28 Units of Significant Meaning (USM).

The results demonstrate a wide variation in the application of compression force, thus offering a possible explanation for the difference between practitioner compression forces found in quantitative studies. Compression force was applied in many different ways due to individual practitioner experiences and behaviour. Furthermore, the culture and the practice of the units themselves influenced beliefs and attitudes of practitioners in compression force application. The strongest recommendation to emerge from this study was the need for peer observation to enable practitioners to observe and compare their own compression force practice to that of their colleagues. The findings are significant for clinical practice in order to understand how and why compression force is applied.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Radiography
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1078-8174
Related URLs:
Funders: College of Radiographers Industrial Partners Scheme
Depositing User: Dr Fred Murphy
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2014 16:52
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 18:34

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