Paediatric radiology is a branch of radiology that deals with the imaging of children. Imaging is often part of a diagnostic work-up; finding out the disease or condition that is making a child ill.
Those involved in paediatric radiology have had training in children’s medical and surgical illnesses - conditions which are often very different from those of adults.
The tools of radiology now include plain radiography (x-rays), fluoroscopy (screening, also with x-rays), angiography (imaging blood vessels with x-rays), nuclear medicine (images obtained after a tiny amount of radioactive material), ultrasonography (ultrasound), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). All of these tools are available to the paediatric radiologist but the judicial use of imaging i.e. what studies are used and when, requires a close relationship and communication with the clinicians who are requesting diagnostic help, be they nurse practitioners, general practitioners, paediatricians or paediatric surgeons.
The Department of Paediatric Radiology is a team of medical professionals. The Department is proud to be part of Starship Hospital and pleased to be involved in the teaching of student technologists, nurses, and registrar doctors. Each member of the team has an identification badge.
A secretary/receptionist is usually the first person whom a family will meet when they enter the Department during the weekday hours. The receptionist is responsible for greeting the child and accompanying family member(s), checking the patient’s name, hospital number and other important referral information. There are other secretaries in the Department who are the crucial link between referring clinician and the Department in terms of scheduling special studies. They work closely with the radiologists when there are urgent studies to be done; they are familiar with the protocols and preparations needed for specific studies.
Radiographers (also known as MRTs or medical radiation technologists) are the people who take the radiographs and perfom some of the special imaging studies, alone or with the radiologist. In the evenings, and overnight, they also handle the same responsibilities that a secretary has during the day. They are trained and licensed and have had experience in working with infants and children. Many of the radiographers have had advanced training in computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasonography.
Sonographers are the people who use ultrasound scanners (machines that use high frequency sound waves) to produce diagnostic images. In the past, most sonographers were radiographers who then progressed to further training in ultrasonography. Recent trainees have acquired a university or other degree in addition to their clinical work. Sonographers work closely with the radiologists so that the appropriate examination is performed for each child.
Student radiographers/sonographers may be involved in procedures within the Department; they are always under the supervision of an MRT, staff sonographer, or radiologist.
Radiologic nurses are trained in the care of children and have had training and experience in the needs of the child who is in the Department for both routine and special imaging. They are particularly involved in studies that require a child to be sedated. They help in explaining procedures to parents and caregivers and in obtaining consent for procedures.