Awareness of Nurses to Radiation Protection in Medicine

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Department of Radiology, Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland

2 Department of Radiology, Blackrock Clinic, 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 United Kingdom (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 was to systematically review the awareness of nurses to radiation protection in medicine.
Method: This systematic review was conducted using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The literature search was conducted in January 2020 in three databases: ScienceDirect, PubMed/MEDLINE and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (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.