Radiographers and technologists were at the center of this week’s radiology news cycle, as three unrelated pieces highlighted the crucial role radtechs play, the significant challenges they face, and the actions required to help them succeed.
CXR Call to Action – After finding that nearly half of their portable chest X-ray images were “problematic,” a team of Stony Brook physicians issued a “call to action” to better support radiology technologists. Analysis of 500 portable CXRs found 231 problematic exams (46.2%), which most commonly occurred during overnight shifts (48%), and often stemmed from patient positioning issues.
- A focus group featuring six technologist department managers led the authors to propose three additional RT resources: (1) creating ongoing training programs focused on patient positioning, (2) assigning nurses to assist technologists during exams, 3) tasking internal medicine residents with reviewing CXRs before they’re sent to radiologists.
Big Teams, Little Training – The UK’s Society of Radiographers highlighted radiography managers’ struggles with high workloads and insufficient training (n = 200), finding that many of these leaders directly manage over 20 or 30 employees (52% & 40%… yikes) and never received manager training from their hospital (45%).
- The authors called these huge team sizes and lack of training a “gross miscalculation,” warning that it will cause managers to “undoubtedly fail in their duty of care to their staff,” especially considering that managers are often pulled into clinical duties due to understaffing.
Patient Safety’s Last Step – The WHO partnered with the ISRRT and ISR to emphasize radiographers and radtechs’ role as “the last step” in patient safety and medicine delivery, filling in gaps missed by radiation and magnetic safety experts. The collaborative webinar addressed radiographers/technologists’ responsibilities for ensuring safe contrast and radiopharmaceutical use, maintaining pediatric imaging best practices, and ensuring that pre-administration processes are complete before medication delivery.
We talk a lot about modality-based approaches to improve radtech efficiency and reduce team burnout, and those are surely needed. However, this week’s news cycle was a solid reminder of HR’s role in technologist performance and what’s at stake if techs aren’t properly supported, trained, and staffed.