Search the BPG

Patient education


Patient education is provided as an integral part of every medical imaging or therapeutic procedure


+ Importance of patient education

  • Education takes place before and throughout the procedure or treatment.1-4
  • Education is an essential part of the consent process.5
    • All patient questions are answered prior to moving forward/continuing with a procedure/treatment which can decrease anxiety5,8


  • Patients are educated regarding their care to assure their full understanding of the procedure/treatment:1-4
    • Use terms and language the patient can understand
    • Personalize standard explanations where possible
    • Provide patients the opportunity to have their questions or concerns addressed in all phases of a procedure or treatment

+ Answering patient questions

  • Addressing questions before the procedure/treatment has been shown to lead to better outcomes.6
    • For example, it can help to alleviate any anxiety6,8


  • Answer questions clearly and use terms the patient will understand.
    • Information should be geared to the individual, for some patients you may be able to give more detail or use medical terms


  • For patients with a limited understanding of the language spoken by the MRT, interpretation must be provided to the patient.
  • When the question is beyond the MRT’s scope of practice it should be referred to the most appropriate healthcare professional(s).
    • It is not within the MRT’s scope of practice to share information with the patient on their diagnosis, prognosis, etc.
    • Communicating a diagnosis is a controlled/reserved medical act in many Canadian jurisdictions5,6

+ Patient education in practice

  • What needs to be discussed with the patient varies by procedure:
    • Radiological technology
    • Nuclear medicine
    • Magnetic resonance
    • Radiation therapy

  • Printed, video or interactive materials often help to illustrate the concepts you are explaining.
    • All materials should be easy to understand, available in other languages, and reflective of the patient population7

+ References

  1. Kowalczyk N, Donnett K. Integrated Patient Care for the Imaging Professional. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book Inc.; 1996.
  2. Ehrlich RA, Daly JA. Patient Care in Radiography. 7th Ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2009.
  3. Dowd SB, Ott K. The radiologic technologist's role in patient education. Radiol Technol. 1998;69(5):443–460.
  4. O'Connor G, Drennan C. Optimising patient care: meeting the needs of the paediatric oncology patient. J Diag Radiog Imag. 2003;5:33–38.
  5. Rozovsky LE. The Canadian law of consent to treatment. 3rd Ed. Toronto, ON: Lexis Nexis Canada Inc.; 2003.
  6. Stewart MA. Effective physician-patient communication and health outcomes: a review. CMAJ. 1995;152(9):1423-1433.
  7. Capital Health Nova Scotia. Patient/Family Education Print Material Guidelines. Available at: file:///C:/Users/ksmith/Downloads/patient-and-family-education-material-guidelines%20(3).pdf. Accessed: November 19, 2015.
  8. Canil T, Cashell A, Papadakos J, Abdelmutti N, Jusko Friedman. Evaluation of the Effects of Pre-Treatment Education on Self-Efficacy and Anxiety in Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy: A Pilot Study. J Med Imaging Radiat Sci. 2012;43:221-227. Accessed November 19, 2015.




November, 2015


Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
85 Albert St, Suite 1000, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6A4
phone: 613 234-0012 / 800 463-9729
fax: 613 234-1097