5 Tips for Taking Better X-rays

xrays of hand in different positions

Key Points

Trouble-shooting can be a challenge when it comes to taking the perfect x-ray

As you learned at The X-Ray Academy, taking great x-rays is an art and you are going to have to take a lot of them before you get good at it. Here are a few tips that will help you take better x-rays once you get in the field.

TIP 1: Learn the Equipment

Not all equipment or imaging rooms are the same. Sometimes it will seem each room has a mind of its own: What works perfectly in one room may not always work the same in another.

It could be due to having different manufacturer’s equipment from room to room. To best prepare yourself for success, you need to know the nuts and bolts of these rooms and how each manufacturer’s equipment works. 

TIP 2: Learn from co-workers

Ask someone you work with that takes awesome x-rays to show you their technique. Be humble and kind if someone asks for your help. By helping each other hone their skills, everyone wins. You may be able to learn a few simple tips that may have otherwise taken you years or several retakes to figure out. There is going to be one position that you just can’t seem to get and it’s ok to ask for help.

Tip 3: Learn from bad images

Instead of just repeating the image again and again, take a mental note or write down what you think caused the image to need repeating. By finding the patterns to why you have to continually redo an image, you can find solutions to finally fix the problem. It is possible to learn from your mistakes (and the mistakes of others).

You can purchase an imaging critique book or find some information online which will help show you what an over or under-rotated lateral wrist x-ray looks like. Compare them with your old images and see if you can figure out what’s wrong.

Also, each patient is different and as a result, will need different exposures. Consider creating notes of exposure ranges and consider what exposures work well for a particular patient or part size, and pathology.

Tip 4: Create a general routine

Having a system makes the process flow easier. Do everything in the same order every time to develop a habit. When a procedure becomes second nature, you can focus more on anatomical positioning and patient care.

Tip 5: Be patient

It takes time before you get really good at x-rays. Patience is a virtue, but not many of us have it. Take a deep breath, you’ll get the hang of it. Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has to redo images. Be kind to yourself. Take the time to learn to get better and go easy on yourself.

Being patient includes not rushing. When you rush, important factors get neglected, and sometimes those factors greatly affect patient care, anatomy positioning, and exposures. It is very possible to perform an x-ray promptly while ensuring that the patient is well taken care of and the images are of diagnostic quality.

The Perfect X-Ray

By being patient and learning the ropes, you can be an x-ray superstar!

Want to learn how to take x-rays? Join The X-Ray Academy!

By Leslie Radford
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