Radiology Technologists’ Protection

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Introduction

A career within the medical field is not only immensely fulfilling and rewarding but also presents substantial challenges. Medical practitioners are bestowed the responsibility of restoring the health of their patients and the duty of ensuring the process predisposes them to minimize risks. In radiology, radiation safety is a priority and must be accorded sufficient attention. The precautions made in this field are geared toward protecting radiologists and their patients from the harmful effects of radiation. Radiation technologists are required to maintain and use devices and techniques at their disposal to protect these two crucial parties. They are required to utilize shielding devices, prevent unnecessary exposure, monitor exposure using a radiation dosimeter badge, and reduce the distance from the main radiation source. A radiology technologist has the professional responsibility of employing various radiation techniques for healthcare while assuring personal safety and that of their patients.

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Protection Mechanisms

Shielding Devices

These are devices used to protect people who work in high-radiation areas from the detrimental effects of this field. Shielding devices are usually made of lead due to the thickness of this metal. The thickness of lead ensures that any radiation that passes through it is weak and cannot penetrate through the body and cause negative health effects (Ray & Stick, 2015). Shielding from radiation using protection devices is vital for the entire room where the radiation equipment is located to protect people in neighboring rooms. These devices span the roof, walls, doors, and windows of the radiation room in their entirety. The lead is sometimes incorporated into the rooms after their construction or factored in as part of the fabric that makes the rooms.

Developers may install lead into the concrete material composing the rooms, ensuring the rooms do not leak radiation from the onset. In addition to lead in the rooms, customized lead gears are made for healthcare professionals to protect them from radiation (Masoumi et al., 2018). The clothing includes lead aprons that protect the areas where they span, lead thyroid collars that protect this radiation-sensitive gland, and lead gloves. The equipment listed is worn during radiation procedures that expose the professionals to ensure that their bodies absorb as minimal radiation as possible. Shielding devices are a physical method of radiation of protection, but the next section will highlight a non-physical method.

Reduced Exposure

Reduced exposure of both healthcare workers and patients to radiation is an additional method of safeguarding their well-being. Reduced exposure works with the logic that radiation gradually accumulates in the bodies of victims with repeated experience (Kim, 2018). The higher the quantity of time one is exposed to radiation, the higher the possibility their health is likely to deteriorate. Excessive exposure predisposes people to diseases such as cancer due to the neoplastic transformation of various cells in the body. Reduced exposure to radiation entails ensuring that patients are under the radiation for the prescribed time. This ensures that they do not experience radiation for increased periods that may increase their doses to toxic levels.

Reduced exposure also ensures that the radiation machines are not active for longer than needed. Avoiding radiation whenever possible and opting for alternative methods of screening can also be instrumental in reducing the exposure of patients to the harmful experience. The use of a dosimeter badge is crucial in monitoring radiation exposure over time by ensuring that the time limit is not exceeded (Meisinger et al., 2016). When the radiation one has absorbed attains the acceptable limits, the machines can be switched off so that the patients are not harmed. In addition to reduced exposure, the harmful effects can be minimized by ensuring that the distance from the radiation source is limited.

Increased Distance from Source

Increased distance from the source of radiation is another vital method of protecting healthcare professionals. Space between the radiation equipment and the medical professional works under the rationale that radiation has a limited range of action. Ensuring that there is a considerable separation between the two, therefore, guarantees that the radiologists are protected (Kim, 2018). This measure is mostly observed by ensuring that healthcare workers operate from a separate room, conferring distance from the devices. The radiology technologists take refuge in these rooms and operate the devices in safety until the screening procedure is completed for their patients. The radiation dose a worker is exposed to decreases as their distance from the source is increased (Kim, 2018). This is especially true for gamma and X-rays, whose intensity is inversely proportional to the square root of the distance from the source. Increasing the distance by a factor of two, therefore, decreases the dose rate by a factor of 4. This method of calculation can be used to ascertain how much protection additional modifications to distance confer to the radiology technologists.

Counterargument

The discussed protection measures are not sufficient to ensure the safety of healthcare workers without careful consideration and follow-up. Workers may be predisposed to radiation due to outdated devices, untested shielding equipment, or faulty dosimeter (Girgin, 2021). Outdated devices do not meet current standards for equipment geared toward the protection of employees hence failure. Untested shielding equipment is not proven and may be risky to the employees when used for this purpose. Faulty dosimeters cannot measure the quantity of radiation a worker is exposed to effectively, hence errors in the measurements and excessive radiation. Ensuring that these errors are avoided is the principal function of government programs (Delaware News, 2019). These programs prescribe specific guidelines and regulations for the radiology departments and healthcare centers, which guarantee compliance. The radiology technologist and their staff are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring regulations are adhered to, and safety is guaranteed. This can be achieved through periodic assessments of the various protection mechanisms in place to warrant they meet current standards of operation. This also certifies that the mechanisms are improved whenever modifications are made by the various government policies.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, radiology fields such as X-ray, interventional radiology, and nuclear medicine present the risk of harming professionals with increased exposure. Certain protocols customized for safety can, however, control this harm if appropriately applied. Responsible radiologist ensures that their professional practice does not impede their health and that of their patients through the observation of safety protocols. The protocols entail reducing exposure to radiation, installing the appropriate shielding gadgets, and increasing distance from the radiation. Professionals must ensure that these procedures are regularly appraised to certify they adhere to the latest standards and guarantee their periodic improvement. Working within the radiology field is not an excuse for professionals to exercise a carefree attitude owing to the risk accompanied by the job. Workers must ensure personal well-being before they can effectively care for others and safeguard the health of patients in need.

References

Delaware News. (2019). Governor and lieutenant governor proclaim radiation protection week in Delaware. State of Delaware News. Web.

Girgin, R. (2021). An Anatolian study on the current knowledge and attitudes of urology operating room staff on ionizing radiation. African Journal of Urology, 27(1). Web.

Kim, J. H. (2018). Three principles for radiation safety: time, distance, and shielding. The Korean Journal of Pain, 31(3), 145. Web.

Masoumi, H., Hasanzadeh, H., Jadidi, M., Mirmohammadkhani, M., Bitarafan-Rajabi, A., Abedelahi, A., Emadi, A., Bokharaeian, M., Shabani, F., Moshfegh, S., Seifi, D., Khani, T., Pursamimi, M., Ehtiati, A., Vali, M. H., Ziari, A., & Vali, S. (2018). A survey on the radiation protection status among radiology staff. Iranian Journal of Medical Physics, 15(3), 176–182. Web.

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Meisinger, Q. C., Stahl, C. M., Andre, M. P., Kinney, T. B., & Newton, I. G. (2016). Radiation protection for the fluoroscopy operator and staff. American Journal of Roentgenology, 207(4), 745–754. Web.

Ray, K., & Stick, M. (2015). Chapter 32 – Radiation and health effects. In R. C. Gupta (Ed.), Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents (pp. 431–446). Academic Press. Web.

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NursingBird. (2022, November 17). Radiology Technologists' Protection. Retrieved from https://nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/

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NursingBird. (2022, November 17). Radiology Technologists' Protection. https://nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/

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"Radiology Technologists' Protection." NursingBird, 17 Nov. 2022, nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/.

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NursingBird. (2022) 'Radiology Technologists' Protection'. 17 November.

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NursingBird. 2022. "Radiology Technologists' Protection." November 17, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/.

1. NursingBird. "Radiology Technologists' Protection." November 17, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/.


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NursingBird. "Radiology Technologists' Protection." November 17, 2022. https://nursingbird.com/radiology-technologists-protection/.