World Radiography Day: experts say patient care is still their top priority during COVID-19

5 NOVEMBER 2020

World Radiography Day: experts say patient care is still their top priority during COVID-19

To mark World Radiography Day, three academics from Charles Sturt University reflect on the profession and the important role radiographers and radiation therapists are continuing to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Radiography Day on Sunday 8 November marks the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. It also celebrates the work of radiographers and radiation therapists who use radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and who play a vital role in modern medicine.

During 2020 radiographers have been on the front line during the COVID-19 pandemic and have played an essential role by providing the chest X-rays and Computed Tomography (CT) scans used to diagnose and monitor COVID-19, while radiation therapists have continued to provide treatment to cancer patients during the pandemic.

To highlight more about the important role of radiographers and radiation therapists in managing the health of their patients, three academics in the Charles Sturt University School of Dentistry and Health Sciences reflect on the two professions.

They share that despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic, patient care has and will always take precedence in every aspect of imaging and treatment. They say radiographers and radiation therapists have always worked very closely with patients and their families, very often at times of great need, and COVID-19 is a shining example of this.

Associate Professor Kelly SpuurRadiographer and Associate Professor in Medical Imaging Kelly Spuur (pictured) based in Wagga Wagga.

Radiographers and radiation therapists are pivotal to modern medicine and form an integral part of many patients’ healthcare journeys. Patient care will always be our top priority.

The fundamental philosophy of radiography is ALARA, which means As Low As Reasonably Achievable. While we work in a highly technical environment, our patients have many complex presentations and health needs. The compassionate and safe care of the patient is always front and foremost in our work.

Patient care is driven by radiation safety with ALARA meaning that no radiation dose is administered without benefit, no matter how small.

Beyond the pandemic, our ‘new normal’ will be one which provides a visible sense of reassurance that all that can be done to ensure COVID-19 safe imaging is being done. We go to great efforts to ensure we take the best images without compromising patient care.Lecturer Ms Tarni Nelson

Clinical radiographer and Lecturer in medical radiation science Ms Tarni Nelson (pictured) based in Port Macquarie.

University never taught me how to be a radiographer during a global pandemic. However, it taught me I would be a part of a patient’s most emotional moments.

I’ve held hands, dried tears, provided warm blankets and comforted where I could. This did not change during COVID-19.

I am not a faceless radiographer behind a mask. I am a person, taking care of people, and I love my job.

Radiation therapist and Lecturer in medical radiation science Mr Chad Harris (pictured) based in Wagga Wagga. Lecturer Mr Chad Harris

The fundamentals of radiation therapy are to provide exceptional care, while maintaining accuracy and efficiency.

The central philosophy I try to instil in our students is that the patients must be seen holistically, rather than as a disease site and procedure. With this, our students have had productive and fulfilling clinical placements during the COVID-19 pandemic and have shown their adaptability, professionalism and patient-centred care.

Many of Charles Sturt’s students studying the Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science have been on clinical placement during COVID-19. Dealing with infectious diseases and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) are not new concepts for radiographers or radiation therapists, however it has now become a more frequent and routine part of the job.

Many students have seen it as an opportunity to upskill and increase their knowledge of infection control in order to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission and keep patients safe.

Charles Sturt University's Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science is taught by industry-based professionals and designed to provide students with the theoretical knowledge and professional skills necessary to practice as a qualified medical radiation scientist.

The four-year course is offered at the University’s campuses in Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga.

Further information about the Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science is available on the Charles Sturt website. Prospective students can find out more about their study options at Charles Sturt by calling 1800 275 278 or emailing info.csu@csu.edu.au

Media Note:

To arrange interviews, contact Rebecca Akers at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0456 377 434 or news@csu.edu.au

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