As a Radiographer you act as an Operator under the legislation.
This means that you must be specially trained to carry out the work that you do and undertake continuous professional development. All employers must have a Medical Physics Expert to advise on optimisation and other matters related to the use of ionising radiation for medical and non-medical imaging. If you have any queries it is advised that your seek the advice of your manager and if you cannot resolve any issues seek out your Medical Physics Expert.
You have a duty to ensure that all exposures are optimised i.e. they are carried out at the lowest dose that is consistent with the intended purpose. Your training and your professional body guidance will help you to do this. You may find the following guidance useful regarding when to use contact shielding, however you should always follow your employers procedures.
Training is less consistent around how to communicate radiation risk to patients.
There is professional body guidance around how you should provide this information to patients which can be found here:
Whilst this website focusses on referrers providing the primary discussion with patients at the point of referral, the information that can be found in the 'Radiation Risk' section which is targeted at patients will also be useful for Radiographers.
Most patients will be satisfied with a statement that the exposure is:
You may wish to use the following phrase:
"Your clinician has referred you for a ... to provide information about...
They believe that the benefits of the exam are greater than the risks of having it for you.
An imaging specialist has checked that this is the appropriate way of getting the information and I will ensure that the risk to you is kept as low as possible.
Are you happy to proceed?"
If you wish to directly access numerical risk information and background radiation equivalence for different exams you can do so here: