Dangers of Being a Radiologic Technologist – Is this Career Safe?
Although working as a Radiologic Technologist is an exciting and rewarding career, because the work stems from a career in radiology professionals may fear that they might succumb to negative effects of radiation or that they are at higher risk for certain cancers. However, due to today’s ever-advancing technology, this is should not be a fear and current safety measures make the field much safer than otherwise rumored to be! Let’s clear up the confusion, what exactly are the dangers of being a Radiologic Technologist?
Although this was not the case when radiology first began being used, today modern regulations have been put into place to limit radiation exposure for patients and RTs. These regulations ensure that there are less chances that Rad Techs will be exposed to unhealthy levels of radiation over time in a number of ways. First, they help monitor both short and long term exposure levels with understanding of how to lessen cancer risk.
Second, even if an Registered Radiologic Technologist changes career paths, their “radiation history” will follow them, further ensuring that continuous high levels of exposure are avoided and that they stay within the required safety limits. Lastly, regulations require that protective equipment be regularly checked for effectiveness. This equipment is designed to protect all areas of the body, so even the smallest malfunction would warrant the need for new equipment. Yet, when operating as intended, this equipment is greatly enhanced safety and protection from high levels of radiation on the body.
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Most healthcare facilities which employ Radiologic Technologists have “quality assurance programs,” which promote safe work practices and mandate adherence to federal, state and local rules and regulations regarding working radioactive materials. By following these programs, RTs are working to ensure that they are equality as protected as their patients from potential harm and risk.
As part of these programs, clinical settings must provide their RTs with OSHA training, standing for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. During this training, OSHA provides several presentations and lectures on radiation, including non-ionizing radiation. The programs also stress the importance of preventing workplace injuries and illnesses, improving compliance with laws and regulations, reducing costs in workers’ compensation premiums, engaging workers, enhancing their social responsibility goals and increasing productivity.
Additionally, facilities which employ Registered Radiologic Technologists must follow institutional protocol and policy, also in adherence with federal, state and local law. For example, employers must ensure that their medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals follow the ALARA principle. This radiation safety principle is based on the minimization of radiation doses and limiting the release of radioactive materials into the environment by employing all “reasonable methods.”
Furthermore, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists has standards set which state that RTs are ultimately responsible for participating in quality assurance efforts to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure to patients, other staff members and themselves.
Overall, RTs should be aware of the dangers of radioactive material, largely so they take the training courses and protocols seriously. If worked with while monitoring requirements set forth in federal regulation, Rad Techs are at low risk of the dangers associated with radiology. Thus, this aspect of the career should not deter professionals from pursuing the career, as each employment opportunity has risks–even if some are as minor as simply driving to and from work.
Learn more about a career as a Radiologic Technologist today!
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