Image gently: Are we really changing practice in pediatric radiography?

Authors: M.J. Goskeemail, G. Morrisonemail, K.A. Applegate

There has been a revolution in the imaging and treatment of pediatric patients since Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895. What began as routine radiography has matured into CT scans and remarkable new imaging methods that include sonography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine and radiotherapy, all with the intent of diagnosing or treating medical illness for the benefit of the child. However, has the profession of radiography moved beyond its routine role of image acquisition towards a wider one that fulfills the goal of communication with children and their families, and promotes evidenced-base practice, radiation dose optimization and practice quality improvement? While it is clear that some hospitals and facilities, as well as individual radiographers have embraced these practices, many would admit that there is room for improvement. The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging is a worldwide consortium of societies, agencies and committed individuals dedicated to raising awareness, providing educational resources and advocating for radiation protection in children. The mission of the Alliance is to “change practice locally”. Now including over 75 members, 29 of them international, the groups vary in size from the radiographers from the Island of Trinidad and Tobago to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The purpose of this editorial is to review changes in practice that have in small part, been addressed by the Alliance.

A scientific article in the journal Radiography with the provocative title “Button Pushers” elucidated the challenges of many radiographers world-wide in gaining acceptance of their expanded role as a member of the radiology professional team.1 However, in review of the facility where one practices, has change in the care of pediatric patients occurred? Let's look at this issue by asking radiographers to review a series of questions.