It is well documented that radiation awareness among medical staff is inadequate. Lack of knowledge in radiation protection and dosimetry may lead to unjustified X ray examinations, overdoses during CT and fluoroscopically-guided procedures, therapeutic abortions due to accidental exposures of pregnant patients and various other accidents and incidents in imaging and radiotherapy. What are the true social and economic costs of these events? Nobody knows. We might be able to estimate the direct cost of a nuclear accident. However, we are not able to do the same for medical accidents. Some events involving accidental or unintended medical exposures are not analyzed and some remain unrecorded. Furthermore, the visibility of accidents in imaging and radiotherapy remains low. A radiation accident in medicine is less obvious than in nuclear sector because harm in radiation medicine occurs only to one individual at a time.
An improved education and training in medical physics and radiation protection of physicians and other staff performing examinations involving ionizing radiation is the key to avoid incidents and accidents and keep the radiation as low as possible. Medical physicists should play the main role by providing high-quality education and by designing and implementing effective training of medical personnel. Important aspects should be taken into consideration: the body of participants has considerably expanded and diversified; the new participants, mainly radiologists and other physicians performing fluoroscopically-guided procedures call for new teaching methods; the educational needs in the poorest countries remain great; new approaches in medical physics and radiation protection education aligned with the needs of growing economies should be examined.
Medical Physicists play a fundamental role in the development and application of medical radiation technologies and ensure the quality and safety of imaging and treatment procedures. We have the knowledge and skills to change the landscape of education and training in medical physics and radiation protection. Let’s do it!
EDUCATION IN MEDICAL PHYSICS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
ENJOY THE 4th INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MEDICAL PHYSICS!
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