Rationale: Medical imaging is used to see the bones and internal organs in the body. This helps to detect broken bones and disease, and can help indicate what is going on with a patient. Depending on the the type of setting, patients may have the procedure in the office or sent somewhere else to have the imaging done. As a medical assistant, you will need to assist the patient in preparing for the x-ray, and possibly setting up the appointment if the imaging needs done at an outside location. Medical assistants can also receive specialized training that will allow them to be certified to take imaging pictures. There are many titles for this position, such as certified radiology technician or general x-ray machine operator, depending on the state in which you work.
Rationale: ALARA is an acronym that means As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This represents a practice mandate for people that perform medical imaging to keep radiation exposure as low as possible. Exposure to high doses of radiation throughout life can create numerous medical problems, including cancer. ALARA is achieved through the principles of spending the least amount of time as possible to exposure, maintaining the furthest distance possible from the radiation, and shielding yourself and the patient from radiation exposure.
time, distance and shielding
Rationale: There are three major principles to decrease the amount of radiation exposure while performing medical imaging. The first principle is time, which is to minimize the time of exposure to radiation. Second is distance, which means to put as much space as possible between yourself and the radiation source. Doubling the distance between your body and the radiation source will divide the radiation exposure by a factor of 4. The last principle is shielding, which is to wear lead aprons to protect the body from radiation exposure.
Rationale: Lead aprons should be worn by any person that has the potential to be exposed to radiation during medical imaging. All medical personnel that are in the imaging room, as well as family members, should be shielded. On the patient, all organs of the body that are not needed in the imaging should be shielded.
jewelry and clothes with metal
Rationale: When an x-ray is taken, the bone and organs will appear in the picture. Metal objects will also appear in the picture if they are present on the patient. When preparing a patient for an x-ray, they will need to remove any clothing with metal so it does not interfere with the necessary medical images. This includes any clothing with zippers, buttons, bras with underwires, and any jewelry. Depending on the image needed, it may be necessary to have the patient change into a gown.
variable, depending on the test ordered
Rationale: X-rays can be performed on any part of the body. The amount of pictures needed will vary, depending on the reason the doctor is ordering the test. More that one picture may be ordered to see the bone or organ from different angles. For example, when a chest x-ray is ordered to look at the lungs, the doctor may order 2 views. This would require a picture from the front, and one from the side. This will allow the doctor to see the lungs from different angles, which can give a better indication of what is wrong with the patient.
Rationale: When an x-ray is performed during pregnancy, there is a risk of radiation exposure to the fetus. Prior to performing an x-ray or sending a patient to get an x-ray, you should always ask about the potential for pregnancy. If a patient is pregnant, the risks and benefits of the x-ray will need to be considered by the doctor to determine if the imaging should be completed.
diet as usual - no restrictions
Rationale: There are no dietary restrictions for a patient that is getting an x-ray. A patient can eat as usual before and after an x-ray.
Rationale: Depending on the x-ray image that is needed, the position of the patient will vary. A patient may either be sitting, standing, or lying down. It may be necessary for a patient to be in several positions to get an optimal view of a bone or organ. It is important to educate a patient that x-rays will not hurt, but the positions that are required to get the images may be uncomfortable.
doctor or nurse
Rationale: The results of a radiology test should be given to the patient by a person that is trained to answer all of their questions, which is usually the doctor or nurse. As a medical assistant, you may see the results on the chart, but should allow the doctor or nurse to inform the patient unless you have special permission to do so. A patient may have questions about their results, and they should have someone with the appropriate knowledge to give them treatments and follow-up options.