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Durban University of Technology’s (DUTs) Bornface Chinene cannot contain his excitement as he will be graduating at the 2022 Spring Graduation ceremony to be held at the Durban Exhibition Centre, Durban on 29 September 2022.

Dr Chinene, who is from Northwest Zimbabwe, will be graduating with his Doctor of Radiography Degree. He is currently a radiography lecturer in the department of Radiography at Harare Institute of Technology and an avid Manchester United fan.

When asked of his achievement, Dr Chinene said he was very proud of his accomplishment.

“My supervisors provided astute and timely feedback and for me, that was unprecedented in my academic life. The hunger for excellence was just unmatched, and I have to commend the institution for creating an environment for academics to fully explore their potential. Both my parents were immensely proud and happy that their son was working towards a doctoral degree. Unfortunately, they passed within a few months of each before I completed the degree,” he said.

He confessed that it was a difficult time for him, but he realised he had to turn the situation into positive energy. So he dedicated his degree to the memory of both of them.

“I know if they were both alive they would be the proudest people to see me graduate. On a positive note, my daughter was born during the course of my studies this brought a lot of happiness,” he said happily.

Dr Chinene further commented that he feels proud to have obtained great results as it at least shows that his hard work did not go to waste. “I, however, thank the almighty for the opportunity and the energy,” he added.

Dr Chinene spoke on his topic: Framework to mitigate disruptive behaviours involving radiographers at central hospitals in Harare metropolitan province, Zimbabwe.

“Disruptive behaviours in healthcare have become an unprecedented global problem, transcending borders, work settings and professional groups. Concerns about their impact on patient safety has led many international medical organisations and other healthcare professions to escalate the urgency of knowing the prevalence, causes and consequences of these unprofessional behaviours in different healthcare settings,” he said.

Dr Chinene relayed that evidence shows that assessing and mitigating disruptive

behaviours is critical to empowering health workers to focus on delivering high-quality, cost-effective and safe patient care.

“However, there is a paucity of literature exploring disruptive behaviours involving radiographers in Zimbabwe. Additionally, there is no written policy to monitor and mitigate disruptive behaviours in the Zimbabwean radiography workforce. The challenge of disruptive behaviours is of significant concern for radiographers because they use radiation that has hazardous effects on living organism cells,” he stated.

In terms of his finding, Dr Chinene said that disruptive behaviours involving radiographers in the Harare Metropolitan Province are rampant and create an unhealthy work environment that can lead to compromised patient radiation protection by negatively affecting the implementation of radiation protection protocols or procedures.

“Cultural and environmental factors relating to disruptive behaviours in Harare Metropolitan Province include a power hierarchy, the work environment and the absence of a reporting framework. Nevertheless, the strategies to mitigate these behaviours may include awareness, willingness to address the behaviours and conflict resolution,” he conveyed.

For Dr Chinene, the choice for such a topic was sensitive to him. Having spent about a decade in clinical practice he had seen how conflict involving radiographers can negatively impact the work environment and patient care.

“I have a close colleague that left the radiography profession due to frustration and abuse from other healthcare professionals. To me, I felt I needed to address this issue of disruptive behaviours on a grand scale and there was no better chance than to address it adequately during my doctoral thesis,” he said.

For him, the academic journey was both challenging and enjoyable. The journey brought the best out of him because he had to leave his comfort zone.

“The proposal stage was the most stressful for me, having to respond to the many reviewer comments. However, the road became clearer after receiving approval from both DUT IREC and the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe,” he added.

Dr Chinene explained that one of the surprising findings from his study was the high prevalence of sexual harassment towards female colleagues in hospitals. One of the recommendations he has made is for policymakers to come up with a robust workplace policy that emphasizes zero tolerance and penalises these behaviours.

His family was overjoyed when they heard the news. They have been very supportive throughout the whole journey. His wife proofread his manuscripts before he submitted them.

Dr Chinene did confess that he struggled with Imposter Syndrome.

“I, however, made a deliberate decision to celebrate the small milestones that I had achieved in my thesis. Publishing in international journals was a timely boost to my confidence as a researcher and academic,” he commented.

For him, writing his thesis trained him to work efficiently and make intelligent decisions. The process of publishing in international journals on the other hand taught him to write his articles in a professional way. “The process also taught me to accept criticism, handle rejection and pick myself up and move on. I am, however, grateful for having published these papers because it validates the importance of my work on an international stage,” said Dr Chinene.

Given the opportunity he would like to enrol for a post-doctoral fellowship as he always dreamt of becoming an accomplished academic.

His advice to future PHD students who want to embark on the same career is to believe in themselves.

“Perseverance is key; you need to keep knocking on those doors. Ultimately, people are going to see your success and not the number of times that you fell. Furthermore, when you start your PhD, a proper work-life balance is crucial to avoiding burnout.

Pictured: Dr Bornface Chinene

Waheeda Peters

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