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Safety in nuclear medicine: Responsibilities of health professionals

» What are my main responsibilities in radiation protection as a nuclear medicine specialist?

You have the primary responsibility for ensuring overall radiological protection of patients and to:

  • Ensure that each medical exposure is justified in consultation with the referring physician; 
  • Ensure that the exposure of patients is the minimum required to achieve the intended objective, taking into account the relevant guidance levels for medical exposure; 
  • Establish optimized protocols for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, in consultation with the medical physicist and technologist; 
  • Provide criteria to manage the examination of pregnant women, paediatric patients, medico-legal procedures, occupational health examinations and medical and biomedical research; 
  • Evaluate any radiation incident or accident from a medical point of view. 

» What are my main responsibilities as a nuclear medicine technologist?

As technologist you have a key position in protection of the patient. Your responsibilities and duties are to:

  • Identify the patient; 
  • Inform the patient; 
  • Inform accompanying persons and staff nursing a patient after a nuclear medicine examination or therapy; 
  • Verify that the female patient is non-pregnant; 
  • Ensure that a mother in lactation is given information about discontining nursing; 
  • Perform the radiological procedure following an optimized protocol and ensuring patient protection; 
  • Calculate administered activity to a child according to the local rules; 
  • Verify the administered radiopharmaceutical and its activity; 
  • Perform regular quality control of activity meter and gamma camera; 
  • Contribute to the preparation of specifications for new equipment; 
  • Participate in optimization of imaging protocols; 
  • Inform the nuclear medicine physician and radiation protection officer (RPO) in the case of an accident or incident. 

» What are my main responsibilities as a medical physicist in nuclear medicine?

Your responsibilities are to:

  • Plan together with the nuclear medicine physician and the radiation protection officer (RPO), the facilities for nuclear medicine practice; 
  • Prepare performance specifications for equipment with regard to radiation protection; 
  • Participate in the continuing review of the nuclear medicine practice's resources (including budget, equipment and staffing), operations, policies and procedures; 
  • Carry out acceptance testing and commissioning of equipment; 
  • Design, implement and supervise QA procedures; 
  • Supervise equipment maintenance; 
  • Be responsible for calibration of equipment and dosemeters; 
  • Perform patient dose assessment; 
  • Participate in optimization of imaging protocols; 
  • Participate in the investigation and evaluation of incidents and accidents; 
  • Contribute to the radiation protection training programme. 

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