1Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, IR Iran
2Department of Radiology, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, IR Iran
3Statistics Department, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, IR Iran
Background Radiological examinations for patients who are hospitalized at intensive care units are usually performed using portable radiography devices. However they may require knowledge and safety precautions of nurses. Objectives The aim of the study was to investigate ICU nurses’ knowledge of radiation safety and their behaviors towards portable radiological examinations. Materials and Methods In total, 44 intensive care nurses were recruited for this cross-sectional descriptive study using census sampling during April and May 2014. The study setting was at intensive care units of Shahid Beheshti Hospital of Kashan, Iran. An eleven-item questionnaire and a five-item checklist were used for evaluating nurses’ radiation protection knowledge and behaviors, respectively. An expert panel consisting of ten nursing and radiology faculty members confirmed the content validity of the questionnaire and the checklist. Moreover, a Geiger-Müller counter was used for measuring ionizing radiation during portable radiological examinations. Study data were analyzed using the SPSS software version 13.0. Mean, standard deviation, frequency and one-sample t test were used for description of the data. The level of significance was set at below 0.05. Results The mean of participants’ radiation protection knowledge was 4.77 ± 1.38. The most prevalent radiation protection behavior of nurses was leaving the intensive care unit during portable radiological examinations. Only 6.8% of nurses stayed at the nursing station during radiological examinations. The highest dose of radiation was 0.11 micro Sievert per hour (μSv/h), which was much lower than the highest permitted level of radiation exposure i.e. 0.25 μSv/h. Conclusions Portable radiological examinations did not expose healthcare providers to high doses of ionizing radiation. Nurses’ radiation protection knowledge was limited and hence, they require in-service education programs.