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X-Ray Radiation Use FAQs

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Campus Mail:
PO Box 245101

Phone: (520) 626-6850
Fax: 620-626-2583

Mailing Address:
Research Laboratory & Safety Services
PO Box 245101
Tucson, AZ 85724

Street Address:
1717 E. Speedway Blvd, Suite 1201
Tucson, AZ 85719

1. Can a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner initiate the X-Ray beam?

  • No. Physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners may not administer ionizing radiation.
  • Only individuals licensed by the Medical Radiological Technical Board of Examiners (MRTB), Medical Doctors (MD), or Doctors of Osteopathy (DO), may administer ionizing radiation for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

2. What professions are allowed to administer X-Ray and Fluoroscopy?

  • Licensed Practitioners: examples are MD, DO, Chiropractor, and Podiatrist.
  • Professions licensed by the MRTBE: examples are Radiologic Technologist, Practical Radiologic Technologist, and Radiation Therapist.
  • PET/CT certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist may complete the CT portion of a PET CT.

3. What are the rules that define the administration of X-Ray or Fluoroscopic radiation?

  • To perform the following acts you must be a Licensed Practitioner or licensed by the MRTBE to administer X-Ray or Fluoroscopic radiation.
    • Positioning the x-ray beam with respect to the patient
    • Anatomical positioning of the patient to the beam
    • Selecting exposure factors
    • Initiating the exposure

4. Can a Primary Care Technician (PCT) or a nurse place the patient on the table or chair prior to a procedure?

  • Yes. Staff can place a patient on the table or in a chair used for procedures prior to the start of a procedure. But they are not able to position the patient or the X-Ray tube over the patient for final imaging.

5. Who can position the X-Ray Tube in respect to the patient for acquiring an image?

  • Licensed Practitioner or a Radiological Technologist for fluoroscopic and radiographic procedures.
  • Licensed Practitioner, Radiological Technologist, or a Practical Radiological Technologist for radiographic chest and extremity imaging.
  • A PCT or nurse is allowed to bring the X-Ray tube to the patient but is not able to position it over the patient anatomy for imaging.

6. Who can operate the PAN option during fluoroscopic procedures?

  • MD, DO, Registered Radiologist Assistant, or a licensed Radiological Technologist.

7. Can a nurse change an X-Ray tube position, in respect to the patient, for imaging during a imaging procedure?

  • No.  See FAQs 5 and 6.

8.  Can anyone push the Mag up or Mag down option during a fluoroscopy procedure?

  • No. Only a Licensed Practitioner, a Radiological Technologist, or a Registered Radiologist Assistant. Engaging the Mag up or down options changes the exposure to the patient.

9. During fluoroscopy procedures can a nurse or a PCT move the X-Ray machine under the supervision of the physician?

  • No. During the course of a radiographic/fluoroscopic procedure, unlicensed (Non MRTBE) individuals may not perform any of the acts listed in FAQ 3.
  • Nor can they perform any of the tasks listed in FAQ 3 under the direction or supervision of a licensed practitioner. It is NOT legal. The licensed practitioner, the x-ray machine registrant, and any technologist or other health care worker may be cited and face disciplinary actions.

10. Can a nurse or PCT input patient data into a mobile C-Arm’s computer?

  • Yes.

11. If a person is more than 6 feet away from the X-Ray tube during fluoroscopy do they need to have on a lead apron?

  • Yes. State Regulations require a whole body protective apron of at least 0.25 millimeter lead equivalent are worn in the fluoroscopy room by each person, except the patient.

12. Can I use the upright mobile shield on wheels (Iron Maiden) instead of wearing the apron during fluoroscopy procedures?

  • The large mobile shield can be used by a individual who is observing a procedure that requires the use of fluoroscopy.
  • Participants in the procedure are not allowed to use the mobile shield they must wear the protective lead equivalent apron.