Importance of Radiation Safety in Healthcare

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Radiation protection is the responsibility of the radiation safety officer and technologists who work in the radiation safety department in most hospitals.

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Importance of Radiation Safety in Healthcare Thomas Edison made history when he invented the fluoroscope but soon stopped his research after his assistant died from x-ray overdose. Marie Curie changed the world when she discovered radium but soon died due to exposure. Modern-day experts have a farbetterunderstandingofhowradiationworksandaremuchbetterequippedto protect themselves from radiation poisoning with the help of radiation shielding and radiation protection methods. However since radiation is odourless and invisible it is easy to get complacent about its dangers and t h a t ’ s where w e ’ r e failing as a society. Radiation exposure can lead to all sorts of health issues and it is essential to understand the importanceofradiation safety.

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Radiation in Healthcare Radiation is commonly used in the field of healthcare as it aids both patients as well as workers in several ways. Its regular need and pressing timelines also mean that it is often one of the most abused practices in the field with many approaching radiation protection and radiation shielding in a wrong or incomplete manner. The dangers posed by radiation got a lot of attention when the New York Times published a number of expose on radiation overexposure and treatment accidents. This made the FDA and OSHAtakeacloserlookattheissue.

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The Issue of Radiation Safety One of the main caused of overexposure to radiation is that most people who work with radiation protection and radiation shielding in healthcare only receive rudimentary training. While interventional radiologists are fully trained to use radiation safely vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists receive basic training andtheymay be unawareof the bestriskreductionand safetyprocedures. To make matters worse while radiologists have radiologic technologists as key members of their team vascular surgeons and interventional cardiologists mostly have nurses forcompany. Another issue is that people often use much more radiation than required. Unlike Japan or the EU the United States places a great amount of stress on high quality imagesandthismeansmoreradiation.

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Keeping a Check on Radiation Radiation protection is the responsibility of the radiation safety officer and technologists who work in the radiation safety department in most hospitals. The safety officer keeps a track of the exposure faced by healthcare workers and all those exposed to radiation must undergo exposure assessment on a monthly basis. The state performs an inspection once or twice a year as well. Another preventive measure is that the Joint Commission requires all hospitals to have written procedures to help people understand the precautions to use before radiation exposure and learn more about how to use radiation shielding materials and radiation protection tools when dealing with hazardous materials such as x-ray equipment andtoolsthatemitradiation. All said and done i t ’ s quite easy and normal for workers to get complacent about radiation safety demanding the pressing and stressful nature of their jobs. Hospitals oftengetverybusy andoftentimesclinicians forget towearthebadge. Getting Complacent

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Improving Radiation Safety Standards Luckily for those involved it is very easy to makeimprovementsin radiationsafety. The most basic and probably the first step to radiation protection is to make those who work with radiation undergo a basic radiation protection course. Itis also essential to ensure that technologists and nurses are encouraged to speak up and bring their concerns forward. Proper communication often helps solve most problems before they become serious. Reducing the amount of radiation dose also works wonders as it benefits patients aswellasworkerswho getexposed to the radiationscatter.

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Radiation shielding is another important method of protecting against radiation. Radiation shielding materials include personal shields such as lead glasses and aprons equipment mounted shields such as protective drapes and architectural shielding. When treated with the respect it deserves radiation can be an immensely powerful and useful tool for mankind. However keeping a check on exposure and making sure that radiation safety practices are followed is essential for the betterment ofeveryone.

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