Overview Of The Profession
Radiographers, or Radiologic Technologists, work under the direction of a radiologist or other qualified physician to perform medical imaging procedures on patients for diagnosis. Radiographers work in a variety of settings including but not limited to hospitals, walk-in clinics and physician offices. In hospital settings, radiographers perform medical imaging procedures in the medical imaging department, emergency department (ER), surgery, and bedside in patient rooms and critical care units.
During the performance of radiographic procedures, radiographers must communicate with and provide care to patients of all ages and in all physical conditions. Radiographers manipulate radiographic and patient care equipment to accurately demonstrate anatomical structures on medical images and to provide quality care. Radiographers work frequently with computer systems to enter patient information and produce digital radiographic images. Radiographers also prepare and administer contrast media and other medications within the scope of practice and applicable state and federal regulations. Radiographers exercise safety practices to minimize radiation exposure to patients, self and others.
Radiographers must be able to take direction from physicians and management and yet operate independently within the scope of practice and state and federal regulations. Radiographers use critical thinking in adapting radiographic examinations to unique circumstances and in assessing medical images for appropriate image quality and corrective actions, if needed. Radiographers must be emotionally stable to perform radiographic examinations on patients under difficult circumstances.
Environment of Care
Like any profession, surgical technology involves occupational risk. As such, clinical education involves training in a potentially hazardous environment. While all reasonable efforts are taken to assure student safety including adherence to state and local laws and following institutional policies and procedures, students should be aware of these environmental risks.
- Exposure to infectious diseases: Radiography students will be exposed to patients with known and unknown infectious diseases, will handle and dispose of body secretions, blood, stool, etc., and will be exposed to infectious waste and blood borne pathogens. Students are taught proper infection control practices including Standards Precautions and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize risk to self and others.
Exposure to workplace violence: While these situations rarely occur, contact with combative or aggressive patients, family or visitors may happen. Radiography students are taught de-escalation techniques and how to call for assistance when necessary.
- Exposure to sharp instruments: Radiography students may be exposed to needles, scalpels, and other sharp objects which may or may not be contaminated with infectious waste and blood borne pathogens. Students are taught to properly handle and dispose of sharp objects to minimize the chance of injury to self and others.
- Exposure to potentially harmful radiation: Radiography students might have contact with radiation producing devices. Safety procedures and monitoring are in place to assure student's exposure to radiation is kept to a minimum.
- Exposure to powerful magnetic fields: Radiography students will train in the MRI clinical area.
- Ergonomic stressors: Radiography students may encounter physical demands of pushing heavy carts, stretchers and other objects. Students are taught proper body mechanics and practices to minimize personal injury.