Radiation safety education is provided to healthcare professionals and other support staff working in the nuclear medicine department or with nuclear medicine patients
- Radiation safety education for other healthcare providers helps to minimize the risk of contamination and exposure1.
- The goals of radiation safety education include:
- Ensuring the safety of personnel
- Ensuring the safety of others they come into contact with
- Minimizing apprehension and misconceptions related to nuclear medicine procedures
- Training provided to other healthcare providers concerning radiation hazards and principles of radiation safety should include information on2:
- Types of ionizing radiation
- Biological effects of ionizing radiation
- Dose and exposure limits
- Concepts of low-level radiation and health
- Concept of risk versus benefit
- Basic protection measures
- In addition to providing periodic training sessions for attending staff, written material is helpful3.
- MRTs provide instruction to other healthcare providers on appropriate radiation safety measures2.
- MRTs provide instruction to other healthcare providers on proper emergency procedures to be followed until radiation safety personnel arrive at the site of an accident or spill2.
- Healthcare professionals that are likely to come in contact with patients having undergone therapeutic procedures using radiopharmaceuticals receive additional instruction, including2:
- Basic radiation safety related to the therapy procedure
- Instructions to minimize the spread of contamination (e.g., information on personnel and equipment entering and exiting the environment)
- Emergency procedures relating to therapy patients
- Radioactive waste control
- Staff that work in facilities when nuclear medicine staff are not present (e.g., housekeeping staff, porters, etc.) must undergo radiation awareness training4.
- Ideally, these workers and their supervisors should take a course in radiation awareness at least once and refresh their awareness annually
- Documentation is maintained to provide a record of training and track the need for retraining.
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Regulatory Guide. Radiation Safety Training Programs for Workers Involved in Licensed Activities with Nuclear Substance and Radiation Devices, and with Class II Nuclear Facilities and Prescribed Equipment (G-313). July 2006. Available from: http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/pubs_catalogue/uploads/G-313_e.pdf. [Accessed 20 Mar 2013]
Society of Nuclear Medicine. Performance and responsibility guidelines for the nuclear medicine technologist (Rev 2003). Available from: http://interactive.snm.org/docs/pg_ch16_0803.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2013.
Thompson MA. Radiation Safety Precautions in the Management of the Hospitalized 131-I Therapy Patient. J Nucl Med Technol. 2001;29(2):61-66.
University of Manitoba. Environmental Health and Safety Office. Radiation Safety Training. Available from: http://www.umanitoba.ca/admin/human_resources/ehso/rad_safety/rad_training.html. [Accessed 20 Mar 2013]