Starting from 1980s, probably due to the advancement of science and technology and growth of demand of radiographers, there has been a considerable alteration in the duty and responsibility of radiographers (Brown, 2004; Williams, 2006). It is, therefore, reasonable to discuss the role of radiographer in present time. The purpose of this article is to highlight role of radiographer in terms of their duty, responsibility and role extension.
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Duty and competency of radiographer
Being health care professions, radiographers can be classified into two main divisions: diagnostic radiographers who are responsible for medical imaging and therapeutic radiographers are responsible for radiation therapy. For medical imaging, radiographic imaging with the use of X-rays, or some other advanced technology, like computerized tomography scanning, positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging would be employed for diagnoses (Brown, 2004). Radiographers sometimes may also carry out obstetric ultrasonography to visualize fetuses of pregnant women (Witcombe & Radford, 1986). On the other hand, radiation therapists have to plan and simulate the radiation treatments and review the therapeutic progress by using the methods of medical imaging. They also need to fix the patients to a suitable position and monitor the mental healthiness of the patients (Burow et al., 2009).
As one of the professionals involved in health care system, having an excellent performance in taking care of patients is exceedingly important for a radiographer (Andersson et al., 2008). By interviewing several hospital radiographers, Andersson et al. (2008) conclude that a professional radiographer with high ability in taking care of patients is capable to give a proper and concise instruction, as well as assistance to the patients throughout the examination so as to appease the patients. Alertness is also a criterion for a professional radiographer in taking care of patients, or patientsââ‚¬â„¢ safety may be threatened (Andersson et al., 2008).
Apart from competent in taking care of patients, being a professional, a radiographer is probably to be very careful in image-processing or radiation treatments, as well as systematizing as radiographer is required to get ready for the examining the patients (Andersson et al., 2008; Brown, 2004). Andersson et al. (2008) complement that a professional radiographer is expect to be communicative and cooperative as radiographer has to either participate in oncology teams or collaborate with radiologists.
Conduct and responsibility of radiographer
As a component of the health care system, Beyer (2010) argues that professional radiographers are required to be responsible towards patients and colleagues under particular rules specialized for radiographers. In regard of equity, radiographers have to be fair to their patients at any time without any discrimination (Beyer, 2010). Radiographers also need to assure their patientsââ‚¬â„¢ life safety in the ways of informing other health care professions for any anomalies of the patients, and providing a safety condition for patients, as well as colleagues and guests (Beyer, 2010; Cook et al., 2004). It is essential for radiographers to be respect to their patients (Beyer, 2010).
In addition to the points mentioned above, responsibility is also a major concern in the code of conducts in many countries, such as Australia and South Africa (Beyer, 2010; Cook, 2004). It is the responsibility of radiographers, as well as other health care professions to keep patientsââ‚¬â„¢ information secrete as the privacy of patients have to be protected. Keeping affliction and worry away from the patients is also a vital responsibility for radiographers. Extra cares and notification have to be provided to the patients if the patients may feel stress or painful in the examination (Beyer, 2010). Radiographers are expected to understand the rights of patients (Beyer, 2010).
Role extension of radiographer
The concern about the role extension of radiographers has been aroused among the health care systems, especially, radiographers and radiologists, and one of the possible extended roles is the implementation of the Red Dot System and radiographer reporting (Williams, 2006).
In the Red Dot System, if there is an abnormality in the patient, radiographers can mark and locate it on the radiograph using a red dot sticker with a high accuracy, and therefore, it can draw doctorsââ‚¬â„¢ attention on the abnormality and thus increasing the efficiency of diagnosis (Radovanovic and Armfield, 2005; Smith & Baird, 2007). Radovanovic and Armfield (2005), however, have also mentioned that although the Red Dot System can assist doctors for diagnoses in the absence of radiologists, identification of abnormality has no mean of how serve the abnormality is.
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Another possible extended role of radiographers is the radiographer reporting on radiographic images, such as plain-film trauma radiographs and chest radiographs (Cunningham, 1997; Williams, 2006). However, even though radiographic reports are usually with high accuracy and it can contribute the duty of radiologists and, doctors may become dependent on the radiographic reports and be confused with radiographic reports and radiological reports (Brealey et al., 2005; Radovanovic and Armfield, 2005).
As there are many limitations in role extension of radiographers, many studies, therefore, suggest that more training have to be provided to radiographers before extending the role of radiographers (Radovanovic and Armfield, 2005; Williams, 2006).
The role of radiographers cannot just simply be explained through the duties comprised in medical imaging or radiation therapy. Having a good skill in taking care of the patients and processing radiographs is also important for radiographers. As professions in health care system, radiographers have to obey their code of conducts and fulfill their responsibilities. Finally, to maintain the sustainability of radiography and radiographers, the discussion of role extension, like Red Dot System and radiographer reporting must keep going on.
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