Radiation safety requirements for training of users of diagnostic X-ray equipment in South Africa

  • B van der Merwe
  • S B Kruger
  • M M Nel

Abstract

Background. Globally, the aim of requirements regarding the use and ownership of diagnostic medical X-ray equipment is to limit radiation by
abiding by the ‘as low as reasonably achievable’ (ALARA) principle. The ignorance of radiographers with regard to radiation safety requirements,
however, is currently a cause of concern. The enhancement of the 4-year radiography curriculum leading to a Bachelor’s qualification provides an
opportunity to explore the training and assessment to meet, among others, the ALARA principle, which addresses national and international concerns
and criteria. Healthcare workers outside the scope of radiography, who are also considered radiation workers, may be even more ignorant and are
therefore also implicated. The process of investigation included a contextualisation of the available regulation documents, the Delphi technique to
determine the content of the training, and a questionnaire to test students’ knowledge before and after training.
Objectives. To determine the content of the radiation safety requirements training and assessment to implement standardised teaching, learning
activities and assessment to prepare radiographers as radiation workers well trained for practice.
Methods. The content of the radiation safety requirements training was determined with the Delphi technique.
Results. Consensus regarding the content of the radiography students’ training was reached and implemented. Furthermore, it guided the development
of teaching and learning activities complemented by aligned assessment.
Conclusion. Standardised education and assessment for radiation safety requirements have the potential to ensure that radiation safety regulations
are implemented optimally in diagnostic imaging.

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