What Can I do as a Technologist?

"Child-size” the radiation delivered to your pediatric patients!

Here are five simple steps to improve patient care in your everyday practice:

As the front line in the imaging process, the technologist plays a key role on the imaging team. Radiology and CT scanning are critical in diagnosing illness in children and ultimately improving patient outcomes. By logging onto this Web site, you already have shown your commitment to improve radiation protection for children. It is the responsibility of technologists and all members of the healthcare team to ensure that every imaging study in pediatric patients is thoughtful, appropriate and indicated for each and every child.  As a technologist in a busy department with a varied work load, it’s sometimes hard to ensure that your action plans are adjusted to use “child-size” protocols. This Web site provides simple educational resources to inform radiology practices what can be done now to improve radiation protection for children.

Soon medical imaging, with CT scans as the largest contributor, will approach or potentially exceed background radiation as the single largest source of radiation for humans (NCRP, April 2007). Research is clear… children are more sensitive to radiation and have a lifetime to manifest those changes. Studies from the atomic bomb indicate that radiation at low levels can cause random injury at the DNA level and genetic changes that impact children’s future health. 

  1. Increase awareness for the need to decrease radiation dose to children during CT scanning. Encourage your fellow professionals to get involved in the effort.
  2. Be committed to make a change in your daily practice by working as a team with your radiologist, physicist, referring doctors and parents to decrease the radiation dose. Sign the pledge! Click on the link on the home page to join the image gently™ campaign today.
  3. Know your practice standards. Standards 1 and 2 on assessment and analysis are your guide to ensuring an appropriate action plan is established for completing a CT exam.
  4. Work with your physicist, radiologist and department manager to review your adult CT protocols; then use the simple CT protocols on this Web site to “down-size” the protocols for kids. More is not better; adult-size KV and mAs are not necessary for small bodies.
  5. Be involved with your patients. Be the patient’s advocate. Ask the questions required to ensure that you “child-size” the scan and only scan the area required to obtain the necessary information.

Your patients and their families will thank you!

Greg Morrison, CAE, MA, RT(R), CNMT 
Chief Knowledge Officer 
American Society of Radiologic Technologists










Resources

Online Educational Modules

Continuing Education Opportunities from ASRT

Beebe Conference - The Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences offers content on Tracking Radiation Exposures from Medical Diagnostics.

Special Needs of the Pediatric Patient  - Pediatric patients have their own variety of special technical, clinical and communication needs when in the radiology department. 

Pediatric Body CT Techniques and Tactics - Learn more about multi-slice and general CT techniques and how they are used in pediatric imaging.    

ED Radiology:  What the Clinician Needs to Know  - Addresses the needs of emergency department clinicians and their role in pediatric imaging.

 

CT Practice Standards

 

Patient Dose from CT - Literature Review

 

ASRT White Papers

The Increasing Use of CT and its Risks

 

Digital Radiography PQI project

 

Offerings from Image Wisely

Image Wisely focuses on adult Radiation Safety.  Please click here to access their free educational offerings.

The Joint Commission

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Medical Radiation & Children - Slide Review

This slide set will cover the following issues in pediatric imaging:

 

  1. History
  2. Basic dosimetry
  3. Biology of radiation effects
  4. Unique issues with radiation in children
  5. Optimization of risk/benefit ratio
  6. Use appropriate techniques
  7. Joint efforts with healthcare providers

Click here to access the presentation file.