Document Type: Systematic Review
Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore, Radiology Department, Co. Offaly, Ireland
Blackrock Clinic, Radiology Department, Dublin, Ireland
Background: Nurses are vital in the management of patients for diagnostic imaging examinations. Some nurses work in radiology departments and others assist radiographers during mobile and theatre radiography. In recent years, some nurses working in the UK and Ireland are referring patients for radiological examinations, a role which was traditionally that of medical doctors. This work involves ionising radiation which is harmful to the human body. Therefore, it is essential that nurses understand the measures needed to protect patients, members of the public and themselves from ionising radiation. The aim of this study is to systematically review the awareness of nurses to radiation protection in medicine.
Methods: This systematic review was conducted using PRISMA guidelines.The search was conducted in January 2020 in three databases: ScienceDirect, PubMed/MEDLINE and CINAHL, as well as hand searching of journals and internet. Data were extracted from all included research studies and analysed thematically.
Results: Ten primary research studies were identified, selected and included in this systematic review. Six themes were identified following data synthesis and analysis: sources of ionising radiation, benefits of ionising radiation in medicine, biological effects of ionising radiation to the human body, principles of radiation protection, control measures for external radiation exposure, populations most vulnerable to ionising radiation, and education and training in radiation protection. In general, this review found that nurses are not adequately aware of radiation protection.
CONCLUSION: There is a need to integrate radiation protection into the nursing curriculum and to provide continuing professional development (CPD) to nurses.