Now that my colleagues and I are in clinic, we will be treating patients mostly on our own with some help from our clinicians. Within our scope, we are able to order advanced imaging. Some doctors refer out for films, but others take X-rays in their offices. Since it is in our scope, we must learn how to take X-rays, not just read them or know when to order one.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we are split between clinic and class. One of the classes we are taking is radiographic positioning. In this class, we need to be able to determine the position of the patient, the position of the bucky (a device found underneath the exam table that the cassette and grid is slid into before shooting X-rays) the position of the cassette, the distance the patient should be from the bucky, the distance of the X-ray tube to the bucky, and the settings for amount of radiation to use in the beam. We need to set the speed and density of the X-ray beam based on the patient’s size and distance. Then we need to enter the numbers into the machine, some of which we need to calculate. Once we are all clear, we start the machine and shoot the X-ray. We each shot X-rays on cadaver models.
After shooting the X-ray, we took the digital image receptor to the computer and viewed the image. We shot our first successful X-ray and had to pose for a few pictures.
We experimented with the amount of radiation to see what would happen with increased and decreased radiation exposure. It was part of our assignment and we determined the more radiation used, the worse the X-ray was. We learned it in theory but it was amazing to see it in person. It drove home the point that we need to be cognizant of the amount of radiation we use when we expose our patients. This is to ensure a minimum amount of radiation exposure and to achieve the highest quality image for diagnostic purposes.
In clinic, we shoot films for anyone who needs it. This class has helped me understand how to do it and though I hope my patients never need X-rays, I am pleased to say I will be able to do it if necessary.
That is all for this week, if you have any questions about student life at NUHS, please email me at [email protected]