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New Competition: Towards a Strong Radiation Safety Culture in Medicine


UPDATE (30 April 2019): Deadline for submissions has been extended by two weeks, to 15 May 2019.

Radiation medical professionals and students can submit proposals to be included in an IAEA training program demonstrating a strong radiation safety culture in healthcare. The deadline for submissions is 15 May 2019, and the top three participants will receive a travel grant to present their projects at the IAEA in Vienna at the launch of this training.

Safety culture is about people, their attitudes, and how they shape everyday relationships in their team and with patients. In medicine, it is a prerequisite for establishing well-functioning institutions that place safety of patients first. Errors in radiology, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy can be prevented if an institution has a strong safety culture.

To assist medical professionals with this challenge, the IAEA is developing a training programme structured around ten safety traits identified as essential for improving radiation safety culture in medical institutions. These are:

  1. Personal accountability
  2. Questioning attitude
  3. Effective safety communication
  4. Leadership safety values and actions
  5. Decision-making
  6. Respectful work environment
  7. Continuous learning
  8. Problem identification and resolution
  9. Environment for raising concerns
  10. Work processes

The traits can be adapted to the situations found in imaging, nuclear medicine and therapy facilities to assure that patients’ exposure to radiation is justified and optimized. Examples of implementation of safety traits could be related to leaders being committed to safety, staff willing to take personal accountability for medical errors, or an effective team’s communication with patients’ safety in mind.

“As part of the training curriculum to be released in 2020, we would like to see members of the medical community share their successful approaches demonstrating each of the safety traits,” said Debbie Gilley, IAEA Radiation Protection Specialist.

How to participate

Medical professionals in diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy should select one of the traits and submit a proposal for innovative and engaging projects that can be portrayed digitally in photo essays, charts, videos or animations to help better convey the selected safety trait and illustrate positive change. They should include how the new practices can be successfully integrated into their regular working environment. The proposals will be reviewed by experts in radiation safety and safety culture.

The producers of the best proposals will join the first training course in January 2020 in Vienna. Their projects will become part of the training and will be shared around the world.

The contest is divided into two phases. In the first phase, medical professionals or students should submit an abstract and storyline.

In the second phase, selected participants will be contacted to produce digital representations of the selected project by 31 July. 

Timeline of the competition

  • 15 May 2019: Participants submit proposals
  • 31 May 2019: The IAEA notifies shortlisted participants
  • 31 July 2019: Shortlisted participants submit digital media presentations
  • 31 August 2019: The IAEA notifies finalists
  • January 2020: Final projects are presented at the conference and the winning team is announced

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