X-rays: what the nurse needs to know
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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

Rationale and key points

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. 32, 1, 39-43. 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

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 16 November 2016

Accepted: 15 March 2017

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