Patient obesity and the practical experience of the plain radiography professional: on everyday ethics, patient positioning and infelicitous equipment

Woods, Amanda L., Miller, Paul K. and Sloane, Charles (2016) Patient obesity and the practical experience of the plain radiography professional: on everyday ethics, patient positioning and infelicitous equipment. Radiography, 22 (2). pp. 118-123.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radi.2015.09.005

Abstract

Patient obesity is increasingly placing significant and multifaceted strain upon medical imaging departments, and professionals, in (particularly Western) healthcare systems. The majority of obesity-related studies in radiology are, however, primarily focused only upon the technical business of collecting diagnostically-efficacious images. This study, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), qualitatively explores the everyday clinical experiences of eight expert UK diagnosticians working in plain radiography. Focus herein falls particularly upon (a) problems with patient positioning during examination, and (b) challenges arising around available equipment. In line with extant research, participants reported that difficulties with positioning obese patients could have negative impacts on image quality, and that insufficient table weight limits and widths, and inadequate detector sizes, can adversely affect examination. They also raised some more novel issues, such as how the impact of available gown sizes upon a patient’s sense of dignity can cause practical and ethical dilemmas for a clinician in situ. The issue of how one might ‘train’ experience in positioning patients without bony landmarks as a reference point was also made salient, with strong implications for undergraduate radiography curricula. It is finally highlighted how the participating radiographers themselves seldom conceptualised any given problem as a purely ‘technical’ one, instead recurrently recognising the interlinking of material, socio-economic and moral matters in real healthcare contexts. By better understanding such nuance and complexity as lived by real radiographers, it is contended, a more context-sensitive and flexible path to effective training and guideline-production can be mapped.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Radiography
Publisher: Elsevier (WB Saunders)
ISSN: 1078-8174
Departments: Faculty of Health and Science > Medical and Sports Sciences > Health and Medical Sciences
Depositing User: Paul Miller
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2015 12:15
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2017 09:35
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1821

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