Radiation Protection

Protection

A student is expected to exercise sound radiation protection practices at all times. At no time should a student participate in a procedure that exhibits unsafe protection practices.

A student shall NOT hold the patient while exposures are occurring. In addition, the student shall NOT take the exposure while a radiographer is holding the patient.

The student has a full responsibility for having the radiation badge with him in the hospital and at school for all laboratory classes. A student will not be allowed on clinical duty or in laboratory classes without a film badge. The student will read and initial the monthly radiation exposure report. Although 30mRem is an extremely small reading, any student who receives this amount or more during any given month will be counseled.

The student must pay the film badge fee by specified date to be eligible to attend clinical courses.

Shielding

Whenever possible, cover the gonads of both sexes with pliable leaded rubber during radiographic exposures.

PURPOSE-To protect the germinal tissue of the patients from radiation exposure that may cause genetic mutations during many medical x-ray procedures in which the gonads lie within or are in close proximity to the x-ray field.

PROCEDURE-Specific testicular shielding usually does not obscure needed information and should always be used in examinations where the testes are in the primary field such as pelvic, hip, and upper femur.

It is not always possible to position shields in exact locations. The decision concerning the applicability of shielding for an individual patient is dependent upon consideration of the patient's unique anthropometric characteristics and the diagnostic information needs of the examination.

Gonadal shielding will be used on all male patients from birth to 70 years of age. Gonadal shielding will be used on all female patients from birth to 55 years of age. Shielding policies vary slightly from hospital to hospital. The school policy is reviewed at the hospital with the start of each clinical course. At some hospitals, radiologists have made decisions that shielding should not be used for some examinations because it may obscure the diagnostic information needs of the examination. In these cases, the hospital policy must be followed.

Pregnancy Policy

It is voluntary for a woman (pregnant student) to inform the Department of Diagnostic Imaging Chairman of pregnancy and the estimated date of conception. However, students have responsibility to the unborn child and are strongly encouraged to discuss options for completing the Program with the Chairman.

The National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) recommends that the maximum permissible dose equivalent to the embryo-fetus from occupational exposure to the expectant mother should be limited to 0.5 rem for the entire gestation period. It is recommended by NCRP that persons involved in the occupation should notify the supervisor immediately if pregnancy is expected. Through proper instruction in all safety precautions, personnel monitoring, and strict adherence to these precautions, it is possible to limit all occupational exposure to less than 0.5 rem per year and prevent fetal MPD levels from being surpassed.

Upon confirmation of pregnancy, the student will:

Consult the Chairman and submit a statement from her physician verifying pregnancy, conception date, and expected due date. The statement must include the physicians recommendation from the following options:

OPTION 1- Immediate leave of absence

OPTION 2- Withdrawal from clinical rotation with continued participation in didactic instruction.

OPTION 3- Continued full time status with limited rotation which excludes fluoroscopy, surgery, and portables with the approval of the clinical affiliation.

If maintaining full time status, the following are mandatory requirements:

  1. Strict adherence to all safety precautions.
  2. Submit monthly statements from physician about any changes in pregnancy and the advisability of continuing full time.
  3. Wear the personnel monitoring devices, one on the collar and one on the abdomen for fetal monitoring. The student radiation exposure will be monitored closely and the student will be subjected to an immediate leave of absence.

Basic Radiation Protection

In 1987 the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) established limits of radiation exposure for workers in radiation areas and for nonradiation workers. The basic radiation protection goal of the council was to minimize the potential for harm to all individuals exposed to man-made radiation. The following are two effects that are of concern to those who write radiation standards:

  1. Early effects occur immediately after the overdose of radiation, which include blood changes and decreased sperm count.
  2. Latent effects develop a long time after the exposure incident and can cause cancer changes and possibly genetic effects to offspring. In 1966, another group concerned with radiation safety, the International council of Radiation Protection (ICRP), introduced the goal of ALARA for all Radiation workers. The concept stands for as low as reasonably achievable. The concept has no specific numerical guidelines, however, the basic tenets follow:
    1. Radiation exposure must have a specific benefit
    2. All exposure should be kept as low as reasonably achievable
    3. Dose of individuals shall not exceed limits for appropriate circumstances

As radiographers and student radiographers become familiar with their work environment within the radiology or diagnostic imaging department, complacency may develop about radiation protection. It is critical to the safety of all radiation workers and to the safety of patients that radiation protection must be the first consideration during every x-ray examination or procedure.