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Putting the radiography patient at ease - Essay Example

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Across all cultures, patients who must undergo diagnostic procedures have some level of anxiety that can be eased by the radiologists themselves. Honest communication (within the confines of professionalism) and empathy are paramount in this field, where some procedures can be invasive, painful or even considered intimate.
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Putting the radiography patient at ease
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Download file to see previous pages As health care professionals, it is imperative that we include good relations with our patients as part of our practice and to continue with our education in human relations in order to enable us to continue to stay in touch with the humanity of our work (The Independent, 2002).
No one likes to have to undergo radiology in anticipation of a major illness or to see exactly what's happening 'where it hurts' after a fracture or rupture. Many times we are the first person the patient will encounter before major treatment is undergone. The patient will be experiencing some level of anxiety over procedures, preconceived ideas as well as worries of what comes after radiology, to name a few.
It is our responsibility to assist in putting the patient at ease during the procedure, as much as possible. There are various ways of doing this; some of it is environmental, some educational and much is psychological. Whilst students of most disciplines of medicine receive only sketchy instruction in the art of psychological interaction, if a technician wants to be the best he or she can be, the patient's well-being must be the utmost priority.
The Royal College of Radiologists' (2000) recommendations give instructions to enhance patient compliance and education as well as helping the patient to relax as much as is possible. Many of these recommendations are strictly clinical courtesy, but some offer suggestions for the communication prior to the procedure so as not to unnecessarily increase the patient's anxiety.
Patient compliance is also of the utmost importance. When we must change the patient's position or take yet another image adjusting the dose, effective communication with the patient enhances compliance. The patient's dignity must be honoured at all times, and their comfort needs addressed as much as possible (Illingworth, Susan, 2004),
But exactly how far should the we go to put their patient at ease Much of that depends upon the individual personality of the technician, but there are some common denominators that define adequate care from superior care (Code of Conduct Working Party, College Of Radiographers, 2002).
We also need to be responsible for asking ourselves the proper questions in regards to our patients' and our own behaviour, whether potential or actual, such as this list (S. Michie, et. al., 2005):
- Nature of behaviour ("what needs to be changed")
- Knowledge and skills
- Goal intention ("what to aim for")
- Beliefs about consequences
- Beliefs about own capabilities
- Goal plan ("how to achieve change")
- Environment-social
- Environment-physical
- Stress/emotion
- "Other"
The above list is a good reflective aid and if used thoughtfully, it gives us the ability to size up a situation before it can become a problem.
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