Inter-professional working

Before I start to examine the statement and title of this essay I would like to give you some background into the role of the radiographer and some of the other members of the health professions that make up the NHS. Diagnostic radiographers can be found in many various parts of the hospital like theatre, accident and emergency, on the wards and of course in the x-ray department. Radiographers use high tech equipment to take images of the patient to look for disease or injury.

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It isn’t just sick or injured people who visit radiographers. People who may appear to be healthy visit the radiographer to undergo a screening procedure. In both of these types of examinations the radiographer must try to produce the highest quality image and to evaluate whether the image needs to be taken again. He/she must also have the ability and knowledge to view the image and evaluate whether there are any abnormalities in the structures they are seeing. I can imagine that most people have the impression that all radiographers do is take images of broken bones and hands and feet. After all if you go into a hospital waiting room this what you usually see, isn’t it? While x-rays of bones are an essential part of radiography, it is not our only area of expertise.

Radiographers can diverse into different areas like CT, MRI, Ultrasound and Nuclear Medicine. Besides x-raying bones, radiographers can use different techniques to look and the internal structures and organs. Radiographers can help to detect problems in many parts of the body, for example, imaging the kidneys and stomach and observing them in motion using contrast agents to identifying problems. Of course the radiographer is not alone in providing care for the patient.

They work along side other health care professionals who all have different areas of expertise. Radiographers work with radiologists who are qualified to view the images, write reports on them and decide on a course of action for the patient. In the A/E department the doctors have first contact with the patient, if they deem and x-ray is necessary then they will send the patient to x-ray. The image provided by the radiographer will allow the doctor to see the extent of the patient’s injuries.

If the requires surgery to fix the problem then the doctor may require the radiographer to take images during the operation to make to help him to locate the exact area of injury. In the weeks after surgery the patient will have follow up consultations with the doctor and x-rays to see if the injured part is healing properly. Nurses and physiotherapists may also be involved in this process. So as you can see there can be many health care professionals involved in the care of a patient at anyone time.

Now that I have given you some background information on the role of the radiographer and the other professionals they come into contact with I think that it is a perfect time to proceed to examine and discuss the statement that “Inter-professional working is fundamental to the successful running of the NHS”. First of all let us examine the statement and see what it means. Inter-professional means people of different professions like radiographers, doctors, nurses and physiotherapists working together as a team.

Team working can be defined as people communicating and working together towards a common goal. If we just take the term professional we usually understand this to mean someone who is educated and experienced, skilled and trained in a certain area. So basically inter-professional working would involve people of different professions using their different skills, knowledge and training to work together to be successful in their goal, the successful running of the NHS. But what does this mean?

An obvious answer would be providing the best possible care to the patient. It doesn’t end there though. We also have to think about reducing waiting times and also about been cost effective. Proper team working and communicating could help cut down expenses by reducing service duplication or eliminating unnecessary examinations or procedures. You would be forgiven for thinking that getting the different health care professionals to work together effectively for the patient’s benefit would be a relatively easy task. Unfortunately this is not the case. There are many personal and professional factors which influence how well an inter-professional team works together.