c. Testing and Calibration. You will need to be able to test and check the
d. Inspecting X-ray Clinics. Although strictly speaking, a skill level 4 duty, you
may actually be inspecting clinics at skill level 3. When you inspect an x-ray clinic, you
will be looking for compliance with radiation safety procedures. You will also have to
initiate corrective action, where appropriate. Seemingly obvious and important
protective measures are sometimes overlooked. That is why inspection takes on great
(1) Faulty equipment. The skill level 3 noncommissioned officer has the
responsibility to ensure that he or she protects the patient from unnecessary radiation
exposure, unclean/ unsanitary conditions, and electrical hazards. The NCO is also
required to advise subordinates who are in error for one of the above conditions and
outline the necessary corrective actions that must be taken. Those trying to get the job
done sometimes neglect a simple task like turning off a machine that emits too much
radiation and using another until it can be repaired.
CONVENIENCE VS SAFETY
When overwhelmed by the immediate and pressing demands of a heavy patient flow,
one might be tempted, to some extent, to overlook safety in favor of convenience. In
such circumstances, some radiographers allow the urgency of the moment to prevail
over the ethical responsibility to limit the patient's radiation exposure to the lowest
For example, an x-ray technologist is taking x-rays on a soldier using a defective
collimator. The x-ray technologist is unable to collimate down to the appropriate size.
Thus, radiation is projected well beyond the area marked by the beam of light. If the
radiology department were shut down, however, the main department would have a
much greater workload, with an increase of at least 50 to 60 more patients per day.
In addition, the x-ray technologist would have to be sent out of his or her routine
Rather than shut down the department, the supervisor instructs the x-ray technologist
to put a lead shield around the areas that don't need to be x-rayed to compensate for
the faulty collimator that is not sizing down to the appropriate size. But, the x-ray
technologist chooses not to use the lead shield, rationalizing that the patient won't
really be exposed to that much more radiation, The patient is, in fact, exposed to
unnecessary radiation not only in the targeted area (the chest, in this case) but from
the top of the head to the feet.