X-ray examination is a non-invasive imaging test used to evaluate suspected abnormalities of bone, organs, and soft tissue. X-ray is a type of electromagnetic radiation that passes through most structures, including the soft tissues of the body, but is less able to pass through higher-density materials, such as bone (Holmes & Sloane, 2010, p.07). A minute burst of radiation is produced by the x-ray machine that passes through the body of the patient, leading to an image that is to be formed on photographic film or a particular digital image recording plate within the machine; the resulting image is referred to as a radiograph. X-ray evaluation is performed in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The procedure is usually performed by a radiologist or radiologic technician, assisted when necessary by other clinicians, including nurses. Assistive duties, which include patient/family education, patient positioning for the procedure, and radiation safety measures, should not be delegated to unlicensed healthcare staff (Field & Townsend, 2010, p.11). It is appropriate for family members to be present during X-ray evaluation under most circumstances when radiation safety measures are taken.
The most widespread use of the technology of X-Ray is for diagnostic imaging, where the injuries for instance, broken bones can be examined in a skeletal system. Moreover, X-Ray technology can also be employed to identify disease progressions in the soft tissues. For instance, the general chest X-Ray, which helps in identifying lung diseases like pulmonary edema, lung cancer, pneumonia, and the abdominal X-Ray, can spot a congested intestine. The duration and amount of radiation contact affects the type and severity of health outcome. Basically there are two extensive categories of health outcomes: acute and chronic (Field & Townsend, 2010, p.13).
Chronic health Outcomes (for instance, cancers) are linked with long-standing, low-level contact to radiation. Augmented levels of contact make these health outcomes more probable to take place but do not persuade the severity or type of the effect. The primary chronic health outcome from radiation contact is cancer. Radiation can also bring about transformations in DNA, the “blueprints” that guarantee cell repair and generate a faultless copy of the innovative cell. The transformations can be genetic or teratogenic. Teratogenic transformations affect only the person who was exposed. Whereas genetic transformations are passed on to the children.
The nurses when assisting the radiologist or radiologic technician must be well informed about the medical history of the patient. It is important since as practical nurse, one may be called upon to assist the radiologist or radiologic technician during an x-ray examination. The nurses should know the fundamentals of the examination so as to have the suitable supplies and equipment on hand, and so that they may set the patient in the appropriate position and drape him accurately. Thus, a professional nurse must be attentive and informed about the following aspects before assisting in an x-ray examination:
Desired Outcomes of X-Ray Examination
The desired outcomes of X-ray imaging includes:
Identification of joint dislocation and broken bones