(2) Protecting the patient. Many x-ray technologists fail to adequately
protect the patient with lead shielding. For example, when taking an x-ray of the femur,
a collimator is used to make the cone of light small enough so that it won't penetrate into
the gonad area. You may think that the light won't scatter outward from the target zone.
But, in fact, there is some scatter effect. Therefore, a piece of lead should be placed
across the patient because the collimator eliminates almost all, but not all, radiation.
(3) Having third party hold the film with no lead shielding. A man
accompanies his "drunken" friend into the emergency room. The man (helper) is asked
to hold the film while his inebriated friend is x-rayed. But, the helper is not provided with
a lead shield. If ever you should witness this kind of abuse, it is your duty to take
immediate action to institute the required protective measure.
e. Establishing Work Schedules. Organizing the work schedule can be a very
demanding task when you are in charge of an x-ray department, which is understaffed
and over tasked, a somewhat common occurrence in an x-ray clinic. You may be
assigned to manage a department that is open 24 hours a day with no one at the front
desk and only seven x-ray technologists, who have to cover three x-ray rooms, an OR,
and two other locations at which portable x-ray machines are needed. In the civilian
world, mobile units are paid by the number of exposures taken. This provides a greater
incentive for maximum efficiency than blanket payment by military rank does. (In the
military, payment is more or less based on an hourly wage, although one is technically
on duty 24 hours a day.)
f. Assigns Duties. The administrative task of assigning duties is more difficult
than it might seem, because fragile egos are inevitably affected in the assignment of
duties. Depending on the nature of the assignment, personnel may mistakenly assume
that there is favoritism or persecution involved when, in fact, you are simply trying to get
the job done and all the duties covered. It may seem to some employees that they are
always being assigned to fluoroscopy. Or, after one too many instances of having to
deal with the mess of a blown barium enema bag, the x-ray technologist might conclude
that he or she is always getting the dirty jobs. Though the problem may simply be the x-
ray technologist's misperception of events, you still have to deal with not only a fair
distribution of assignments, but also disgruntled personnel.
g. Instructing Personnel. By the time you attain the rank of E-6, you yourself
may have become one of the "supertechs," described earlier. It will then be your turn to
provide on-the-job training to less experienced x-ray technologists. By skill level 3 you
may also be expected to conduct formal platform instruction. (Most E-6 x-ray
technologist slots are at the Academy of Health Sciences, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, as
platform instructors.) So, you may well end up on the platform by skill level 3. You may
even be called upon to serve as a subject-matter expert, providing your expertise in the
development of field manuals, training manuals, and various other training materials.