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Introduction

Growth in the introduction of shift systems of working has led to a number of questions about radiographers’ scope of practice in hours outside the normal1 working day; ie during shift systems and duty periods when there may be much reduced, or no, medical staff on duty within the imaging or radiotherapy services.

Examples include:

  • Am I able to give intravenous injections during shift sessions that are outside the ‘normal’ working day?
  • Is it acceptable for me to undertake reporting duties during a night shift?

There is some feeling that the scope of practice is dependent on whether or not other staff, particularly medical staff, are present; and also on the time of day or night, or day of the week.

Sometimes, too, there are concerns about being more tired during a night shift than a day shift and the increasing risk of error and mistake.

Another concern is related to productivity during shift periods and the perception that action will be taken if, for example, a reporting radiographer on a night shift fails to complete a given number of reports.  

Essentially, these questions confuse professional responsibilities and employment matters. This guidance is provided to enable members to understand fully their obligations as registered health care staff.

 

1. Normal in this context means when there are both radiographers and radiologists/oncologists on duty in the clinical department as well as other core staff; it may extend beyond the hours of 9 – 5 Monday  to Friday and include some hours on Saturday and/or Sunday.

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