X-rays: what the nurse needs to know
Evidence & Practice    

X-rays: what the nurse needs to know

Rebecca Myatt Respiratory diagnostic clinical nurse specialist, Guy’s Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, England

X-ray imaging is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is able to pass through the human body producing an image of the internal structures. X-rays are one of the main investigations for confirming a suspected diagnosis. Developing an understanding of the underlying mechanism and the rationale for requesting an X-ray will increase nurses’ understanding of the process and enable improved patient preparation through explanation and reassurance. This article provides an overview of the fundamental principles underlying the process of obtaining an X-ray.

X-ray imaging is a common diagnostic tool that nurses will encounter on a regular basis.

Several factors affect the production of a clear X-ray image, including patient movement.

Radiation safety and avoidance of unnecessary exposure are paramount.

Co-operation and communication by the multidisciplinary team are vital to ensure that X-ray imaging can be requested, performed, interpreted and acted on, and the findings communicated to the patient.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10749



Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Received: 16 November 2016

Accepted: 15 March 2017

Published online: 24 August 2017

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Try 1 month’s access for just £1 and get:

Your subscription package includes:
  • Full access to nursingstandard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • The monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student
Already subscribed? Log in

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now