Working in the medical field is an eye opener, LITERALLY! As a student or paid worker in the medical field, we must be alert 24/7! I’m a student in the radiology program here at Mohave Community College on the Bullhead City campus, in the medical field you’re always wondering what’s to see and what will be experienced next. Without proper safety measures, we could be experiencing cancerous affects to our bodies. Many employees in the medical field can be around ionizing radiation on a daily basis. Ionizing radiation, by definition, is any type of particle or electromagnetic wave that carries enough energy to ionize or remove electrons from an atom.
X rays are produced outside the nucleus of an atom by diagnostic machines and procedures (Fluoroscopic procedures, surgical procedures, portable/regular X ray machine, etc.). Medical personnel may receive low doses over time and may experience acute systems that can lead to damaging tissue, DNA, and potential cancer of the cells in the body. Medical personnel aren’t supposed to hold patients while the patient is given an ionizing examination although many personnel don’t follow this rule and increase their dosage over time. Following the rule of not holding patients can help reduce the amount of exposure medical personnel face.
The following are more ways for people in the medical field, other than radiology workers, to decrease radiation exposure:
Wear protective equipment, lead vest, lead goggles, and wearing a skirt and top is safer than wearing the standard one piece apron. If a person has to turn around and face the radiation beam, their organs and back will be protected. Lead goggles will help prevent the formation of cataracts or slow down the process. Lead goggles should have lenses made with .75mm of lead. Sometimes ICU nurses have to be in the exam room for fluoroscopic procedures. The nurses are keeping the patient safe by watching their tubes, and making sure everything goes smooth but this can be dangerous if a nurse is pregnant. The nurse must request a lead shield or make arrangements for another nurse to take over.
If an exam has unnecessary projections/positions, make the effort to contact who has access to change an order, this can decrease exposure to anyone involved in the exam.
Stay focused when exposing, medical workers may horse around and accidentally expose their coworker. Verbally say “X-ray” when you’re exposing in the ER or if a full staff is in the room, to give everyone notice to move away will also help reduce accidental exposure. When trauma situations occur all sorts of medical staff are in the room trying to save a life. Giving everyone the chance to make a decision is the best option you can do. Bringing extra lead for people is another helpful way to reduce radiation exposure. If you’re the doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, transporter, etc, be aware and watch out for x-rays.
Research radiation detox remedies and foods. A classmate of mine researched a variety of foods and vitamins that detox radiation out of the body. The following is a list of foods to consume in your diet, along with a link to the website.
Apples (fruits rich in pectin)
Kale (other leafy greens)
Stand six feet back from the machine, more if possible due to radiation scatter. From what I’ve learned in class and in the clinical setting, scatter radiation travels further than six feet. If you’re a medical staff helping with an x ray, stand as far back as you allow yourself to.
Make ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable) your idol,
Most people in the medical field get exposed at one point or another, a sad inevitability for the hard health care workers who tirelessly serve the people. There are ways we can reduce our exposure and exposure of our co-workers. Safety first!
Student Blogger, Bullhead city Campus