Radiation protection for radiographers at ADK Hospital
By: Radiology Department
According to the WHO (2012) energy emitted from a source is called radiations. Radiation is of two types – Ionizing and non ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is had enough energy when it interact with an atom, it can remove an electron from the orbit of an atom which results in charging the atom or ionizing it. This kind if radiation exposure can result in short term and long term health issues. While at high dose of ionizing radiation causes tissues death, organ failures, lower levels of the radiation absorbed over time can have a long-term effect or over generations (genetic damage leading to abnormalities). One of the most widely known long term effects is cancer. But the risk of cancer of one or two test during diagnostic investigation involving radiation is minimal, and the skilled technologists who are trained to use radiation protection at all times will ensure that proper protections are available to the patients, attendants and themselves are being used to limit the exposure to the radiation at all time.
Though radiation protection is used, and shielding is provided to minimize the exposure to radiology personnel, it does not necessarily mean they are completely protected from the radiation. Therefore there are certain guidelines in ensuring that the limited amount of exposure per staff is verified and they are kept safe from over exposure. The “International Radiation Protection Association” compiles these guidelines of standard in accordance to the universal laws complying with the usage of radioactive material and radiation. One of them is to monitor the level of radiation of all personnel working in the department of radiology and who deals directly and indirectly with radioactive material and radiation. The radiations levels are absorbed are measured using a special device.
Radiation dosimeters detect the amount of radiation to which the radiographers are exposed over a specified amount of time. They are worn between the level of the chest and waists as the x ray equipment are usually are at these levels of the height. The amount of radiation that a worker is exposed to should not exceed 20msv annually. Apart from this there are set values established by the institutes over the exposure of the technologists in regards to the number of exposures and patients that that is treated in the department. The measurement and the maintenance of the records are usually done by medical physicists, who checks the exposure factors and advises the technologists on how to ensure their work habits need to be modified in case the exposures have shown an increase. This will ensure that the radiographers are provided with safe environments and minimize the occupational hazards involved with radiation exposure.
ADK hospital, has introduced these dosimeters to its radiologic technologists last month, to measure the exposure levels the staffs. The radiographers, working together with biomedical department and management are trying to implement a safe working environment for the radiology staff. This is the first such activity being done in regards to radiation protection to staff in Maldives. Currently the dosimeters are provided to the x ray room staff and female staff only. But soon the entire radiology staffs who directly are involved working in the radiation field will be provided with the dosimeters. These measurements over time will indicate on how to establish safety rules regarding the diagnostic services to the patients and the workers at ADK hospital.