World Radiography Day: What You Need to Know
World Radiography Day marks the anniversary of the discovery of X-rays on 8 November 1895. According to the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists, on this day in 1895, Professor Roentgen was working with cathode rays using evacuated glass bulbs. He noted that when a current passed across the bulb, a barium platino-cyanide screen fluoresced and furthermore he noted the effect of the phenomenon on photographic plates. He termed this new discovery ‘X-rays’. He further asserted that, with the use of these ‘X-rays’ he was able to see through the body. Within three months of Roentgen’s discovery, radiographs were generated in major cities.
The purpose of this day is to raise public awareness of the profession of Radiography, a field that plays a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Radiographers are not only healthcare workers, but radiation workers as well. They ensure that radiation is kept to the minimum required doses while still improving the quality of patient care. They are trained in anatomy, physiology, pathology, physics and patient care, allowing for a multifaceted approach toward caring for patients.
Ms Bardene Dreyer, Assistant Director: Radiography at Tygerberg Hospital, said: ‘Our radiographers have worked tirelessly during the pandemic, providing a service to the public health sector 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; performing hundreds of examinations per day. The hospital has a radiography staff complement of 65 diagnostic radiographers, 3 sonographers, 23 radiation therapists and 16 nuclear medicine technologists providing a high-quality service using world-class technologies to ensure only the best of patient care.’
All radiographers in South Africa are required to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, a regulatory body that ensures growth, professional development and a high standard of care. Each year, the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists set a theme for World Radiography Day. The 2021 theme is ‘The Role of the Radiographer in a Pandemic’.
The profession of radiography is vast, with radiographers performing examinations on patients throughout their initial hospital visits, diagnosis, treatments, and follow-ups. Radiographers are on the front lines of the pandemic, working closely with potential and confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients.
Some of the examinations performed by radiographers include:
- General and Trauma X-rays
- Mobile Radiography
- Theatre Screening for Surgery
- Cardiac Catheterisation
- CT Scans
- MRI Scans
- Fluoroscopic Studies
- Nuclear Medicine
- Radiation Therapy
‘The profession and field of radiography is one that is rapidly advancing, with new technologies constantly pushing the limits of what is possible in medical imaging. New advancements have ensured that radiography has evolved from the basic x-rays that everyone is familiar with, into high resolutions scans, and even physiological imaging of brain chemistry using functional MRI,’ Ms Dreyer concluded.
Laticia Pienaar (Mrs)
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