R.T. Safety Is Paramount

Rachel Davis, R.T.(R)(M), RCIS, ASRT Program and Grants Coordinator
Apr. 27, 2017

Rachel DavisToshiba Medical understands the demands of the radiologic technology profession and support us as R.T.s. That is why Toshiba has collaborated with us here at the ASRT Foundation to offer Safety FiRsT® grants for a third year.

As professionals, we pave the way to improve R.T. safety in our health care facilities and communities. The safety of radiologic technologists is a vital component to the job function in every modality in the medical imaging industry. Occupational hazards such as radiation and chemical exposures can be just as harmful to us as professionals as it is to our patients. The magnet used for magnetic resonance imaging examinations can pose a wide variety of safety challenges for technologists.

Mammography, computed tomography and nuclear medicine technologists also face many modality-specific challenges in regards to technologist safety. Every modality comes with inherent dangers to technologists and patients. Technologists practicing in any of the imaging modalities are eligible to apply for the grant that awards two ASRT members up to $7,000 each to promote or improve technologist safety at their institutions.

In the pursuit of providing better patient care and producing the best images possible, we often give our patients’ safety a higher priority than our own, sometimes even risking our own safety unintentionally. The Foundation understands that R.T. safety is vital and, through this grant opportunity, is empowering technologists to improve their own safety. After all, no one knows what would create a safer work environment in a specific hospital or clinic better than the R.T.s who work there.

As all R.T.s know, there’s more to safety than just adhering to the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principles. R.T.s are knowledgeable about the changes that need to be made to increase safety, from purchasing a piece of equipment to creating a comprehensive R.T. safety improvement program. The Safety FiRsT grant enables these professionals, who have studied and practiced radiation safety throughout their careers, to use their creative leadership skills to implement R.T. safety improvement solutions and to increase safety awareness throughout the health care facility.

Applying for a Safety FiRsT grant is an opportunity for you to consider questions such as:

  • In fluoroscopic areas, are technologists provided with lead glasses?
  • Does the department use heavy lead aprons? Could these aprons be replaced with lighter aprons that would provide better radiation protection coverage? Would the use of lighter lead aprons reduce back injuries?
  • Do R.T.s have adequate equipment to help with lifting patients? Could a lifting device, back straps or back braces help reduce injury?
  • Are more tools needed to assist with positioning? Would positioning devices reduce the need for R.T.s to hold patients during examinations?
  • Does the department need special equipment to perform pediatric procedures?

If these or similar questions are troubling your department, I encourage you to apply for a Safety FiRsT grant and perhaps be offered a way to find solutions to those questions. Applications close June 30, 2017. For more information on how to apply, visit the Safety FiRsT web page.