Radiography Protection Policies
IONIZING RADIATION AND PROTECTION POLICY
Due to participation in the administration of ionizing radiation, the student must be aware of policies and procedures utilized in assuring safety and minimizing radiation exposure to patients, students, and others. Radiation exposure should always be kept to the lowest possible level (ALARA). Students are provided with information concerning biological effects of radiation in their first radiography course and are advised of the separate policy regarding pregnancy. Throughout the program, radiation protection is emphasized. In addition, the following practices are enforced:
- Time, distance, and shielding are the basic components to minimize radiation exposure: the least time, the greatest distance from the source, and protective shielding such as use of lead aprons.
- Appropriate radiation protective devices are available to students and utilization is enforced. Students must wear a lead personnel shield any time a permanent barrier will not protect them from exposure. The use of a leaded thyroid shield is strongly recommended.
- It is the program's policy that students do not hold or restrain a patient or hold an image receptor during radiographic exposures. They are encouraged to use all imaging aids available to assist the patient to maintain or hold the position necessary for the projection. In the rare occasion that these devices would not achieve optimal results, it is the responsibility of the radiographer to find an individual who is not routinely exposed to radiation to accomplish this task, such as a family member of the patient. Those persons assisting in holding the patient shall be provided with protective aprons and be positioned so that they are not in the path of the primary beam.
- Students in fluoroscopy should maintain the greatest distance possible from the source, wear appropriate shielding, and stand at 90 degrees from the primary beam. When not needed for patient care in the radiography room the student should remain behind the lead barrier.
- Personnel monitoring devices are issued to each student and need to always be worn during clinical assignments and fastened at the collar level, outside the lead apron. If a student fails to have their personal monitoring device at clinic, they will not be allowed to participate in clinic and they may receive either an absence or a tardy for that clinical day.
- The student is responsible for exchanging their personal monitoring device on a quarterly basis and to keep it safe from excessive heat, humidity, and electromagnetic devices that may affect the reading. The monitoring device is not to be worn during personal medical procedures.
- During patient care, the student is required to utilize lead shielding over the patient's gonadal area regardless of patient age, unless that shielding will directly interfere with diagnosing the image.
- Students are required to adhere to ALARA principles and make every effort to keep repeats at a minimum and ensure exposure limits are within the acceptable exposure index range. All images are expected to be collimated as closely as possible without eliminating essential anatomy from the image.
- Students are to never have personal radiographs performed in a clinical site without a valid physician's order, or to perform radiographs on another student, technologist, family member, etc. without a valid physician's order and the patient registered with the medical healthcare system.
- Students will be subject to corrective action for disregarding the above policies. The resulting action will be based upon the severity of the incident. Altering digital information to falsify original exposure indices, changing original algorithms, or deleting patients/images from PACS for other than technologist-approved items will be subject to the College Cheating and Plagiarism policy and the Critical Objectives policy in the College catalog as well as a reported violation to the ARRT.
- Students will receive their quarterly reports and are required to sign and initial after they have reviewed the data.
- Students who receive a quarterly exposure report of 40 mRem or higher or reach a cumulative reading of 100 mRem within one year's time, will be counseled regarding radiation safety practices.
It is the option of the pregnant student to inform the Program Coordinator/Clinical Coordinator of her pregnancy. If the student chooses to voluntarily inform officials of her pregnancy, it must be in writing and indicate the expected date of delivery. In the absence of this voluntary, written disclosure, a student cannot be considered pregnant. If the student chooses to disclose her pregnancy, she will receive counseling on the options available to make an informed decision based on individual needs and preferences. The options are:
- Continue both the didactic and clinical education phases
- All clinical as well as didactic objectives must be fulfilled prior to graduation
- The attending physician must provide written approval
- Continue only the didactic educational phase
- All clinical as well as didactic objectives must be fulfilled prior to graduation.
- Allowance will be made for reinstatement in the clinical phase post pregnancy
- Leave of absence from the Radiography Program
- Discontinue didactic and clinical education phases
- Re-enter program based on readmission criteria as stated previously
The ultimate decision regarding the previous options will be the student's, tempered by the gestation period and the student's level of progress in the educational program. The student will be required to sign a statement acknowledging explanation of options and stating option choice.
Pregnant students choosing to remain in all educational phases:
- Must review the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission "Regulatory Guide 8.13" Instruction Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure
- Must wear an additional radiation monitoring device near the lower abdominal area and under the lead apron
- Must closely monitor personal quarterly radiation dosimetry reports
- Will be assigned to the same clinical rotations as non-pregnant students
- It is recommended that pregnant students observe the following precautions:
- Stay out of the field of radiation and, other than during fluoroscopy, remain in the control booth during the exposure period
- Wear additional lead apron or aprons in fluoroscopy, during portable exams or when otherwise necessary
- A pregnant student has the right to rescind her declaration of pregnancy at any time during gestation. If rescinded the student is no longer considered pregnant and no allowances for her condition will be made