#TipsForNewRads – 10 things to know for theatre radiography

Adding to the #TipsForNewRads that have been appearing on #SoMe over the last couple of weeks, I thought I might add to the mix with a list of things to know when going to theatre. I know that students will already have experienced going to theatre as part of clinical placement, but some may not have spent as much time in there as others. It is by no means an exhaustive checklist, more general observations from my time in theatre to date!

Anyways, here goes:

  1. Take part in the team brief if you can. I always join in if i’m up in theatre when it’s going on. You often find out more information about the patient and also what the surgeon is intending to do, and how.
  2. Always introduce yourself to theatre staff you’ve not met before.
  3. Check your image intensifier is clean before using it. Not all people are as thorough as you may be when it comes to cleaning – blood gets EVERYWHERE on a C-arm!
  4. If you’re unsure of how to go ahead with a procedure, or for example it may be a surgeon you’ve not worked with before, NEVER be afraid to ask what they want, or how they want you to position your image intensifier and monitors.
  5. You are an integral part of the operating team, not just an add-on, so get involved! Don’t just restrict yourself to the radiography side of things. You should help in the transfer of patients, clean up between cases, make notes if asked, get things if you aren’t busy x-raying. The more you get involved, the more the theatre staff will appreciate you and help you when you need.
  6. At the end of the procedure, if you are unsure which images to save, then again, just ask the surgeon – never assume!
  7. Always clean your image intensifier after use and leave it in a state which you would like to use it.
  8. If you don’t send and/or process the images from your case yourself, it is your responsibility to ensure that this gets done.
  9. Always communicate with the main department. Theatre lists change all the time. You may have just popped up to theatre for a “quick” MUA, only to find out that they need you all day! It helps whoever is in charge of running X-ray for theatres to plan the day if you keep in touch with them.
  10. ENJOY! Theatre radiography is a great part of your role as a diagnostic radiographer. You get to meet and be part of several different theatre teams. You will learn a lot!

There you have it! Like I said, not everything you need to know, but hopefully a useful list for newbies! Please feel free to comment on what i’ve said, or add your own handy hints!

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7 thoughts on “#TipsForNewRads – 10 things to know for theatre radiography

  1. Ben these are super. Back in 2012 I did a 12 month stint in clinical. There were no openings for MRI radiographers so I had to take a CT post with general, theatre and mobiles in a 30 bedded hospital. I was really nervous doing theatre work after an eight year gap. However it all came flooding back to me. Radiography is indeed like learning to ride a bike- you never forget. All those on-calls and weekends at a busy acute trust really paid off. I remember being involved in a complex spinal case and almost having an “out-of-body” experience as I instinctively knew what to do. I even learnt to love theatre but not as much as MRI πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great list and lots of it works for student nurses too.
    For us we also need to stay out of the way, I try and ask where is the best place to stand before things start because it is so easy to get that wrong and it shows that you are thinking. I’ve learnt that you need to stay well away from the sterile field. I never touch anything without being asked. I try really hard not to make the first move with asking questions and hope that someone offers me an opening πŸ˜€ TTS

    Liked by 1 person

      • Theatre can be really quite hard to get in to in some trusts. I was fortunate to get some experience on my first placement, so good to get into anaesthetic & recovery too especially for nurses (and auxiliaries) if you are going to grasp something of your surgical patients journey…
        Good that I read your post as I forgot that I saw radiographers in theatre – they must have been the shy and retiring ones!
        Yah – go you, Ben the lecturer, sounds good πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #TOTW (x3) Radiographers and #SoMe | radiographerben

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