RAD 226 Health Physics


Course Description

This course presents concepts related to ionizing radiation, including the basic physics of radionuclides and the biologic effects of interaction of radiation with matter. Other topics include structural shielding requirements, NRCP guidelines, personal monitoring considerations, radiation units and measures, as well as the basics of radiation safety. Prerequisities: BIO 112, 113, PHY 102, and permission of instructor.



As radiographic imaging professionals, we routinely produce and control ionizing x-radiation for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. A thorough understanding of the physical nature of x-radiation is an obvious prerequisite to achieving professional competence in our field. It is to this goal that we focus our attention in RAD 226 Health Physics. Our coursework will assist you in gaining an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum of radiation, the chemical and physical processes involved in x-ray production, and the events which occur when x-rays and matter interact. What x-ray is, where it originates from, and how it is utilized in medical imaging are the central questions we will explore. Our readings and discussions will also introduce the concepts regarding the protection of our patients, ourselves, and our co-workers from unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation. A growing familiarity with these concepts is vital as you move towards exposing humans to x-radiation during your initial clinical experience in the coming weeks.



This course has two primary aims:

• to assist you in a detailed analysis of the physical nature of ionizing radiation with an emphasis on the production of diagnostic x-radiation and the subsequent interactions that occur during medical imaging; and

• to introduce you to the principles and techniques of radiation protection for implementation of appropriate dose reduction practices during your initial clinical experience as a student radiographer.



Upon completion of this course you should be able to:

• identify and discuss the components and characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum.

• illustrate the physical and chemical origins of ionizing x-radiation.

• list and describe the major components of a diagnostic x-ray tube.

• compare and contrast the target interactions that result in the production of x-ray photons.

• analyze the various events that occur when ionizing radiation and matter interact.

• apply the basic principles of radiation exposure and technique during your clinical experience.

• describe the concept of ALARA and discuss the techniques employed to support it.

• utilize basic procedures and principles to reduce x-ray exposure to patients and personnel.


Course Format

There will be several forms of instruction utilized throughout the semester. Your success in this course is directly correlated to your effort and participation in each:

• The required text book for this course is: Statkiewicz Sherer MA, Visconti PJ, Ritenour ER. Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography. 5th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier; 2006 The attached course schedule indicates the section(s) of the text you are required to read prior to each class meeting.

• Our class room discussions will expand upon the material presented within the text readings. Lectures will be supported by various hand-outs, audiovisual materials, and computer presentations.

• I will provide you with additional supplemental readings throughout the semester to assist in your comprehension of the course content.

• Blackboard – all course-related material is available at http://blackboard.hartford.edu Assignments, supplemental readings and exercises may be periodically administered through Blackboard.

• In addition, the discussion board for this course is a valuable resource for further topic exploration and clarification. You may find it helpful to discuss amongst yourselves the topics we cover throughout the course. I will routinely monitor the discussion board and will provide additional instruction when necessary.

• Please familiarize yourself with Blackboard and speak to me if you have any issue with access or utilization.



Your progress and overall course achievement will be calculated in the following manner:

Measure % of Grade
Homework 10
Exam I 20
Exam II 20
Exam III 20
Final Exam 25
Participation 5

*A grade of C+ (77%) or above in this course is required to continue within the Radiologic Technology professional component curriculum. (Policies and Procedures, pg. 5)


Student Responsibilities

1. Your attendance is expected at all class meetings. Please contact me prior to class via phone or e-mail if you are unable to attend a lecture session. It is your responsibility to obtain the covered course content for any missed lectures.

2. Read the assigned materials prior to each lecture. You should take notes during class, the ease of which will be facilitated by at least a cursory understanding of the material.

3. You are responsible for all of the material contained within the assigned readings and activities. Your understanding of all major concepts will be assessed through our various assignments and tests. Be aware that I will not test you on minutiae; the assessment tools I use to measure your progress will concentrate primarily on the major topics we explore during our meetings and homework assignments.

4. Pay attention and participate in our lecture discussions. Appropriately asked questions are always welcome – never hesitate to raise your hand and ask for further clarification when needed.

5. Bring your textbook to class. We will use it often during both independent and collaborative exercises.

6. The use of cell-phones, pagers, or other electronic communication devices during class is strictly prohibited.

7. All assignments must be completed as scheduled. Late assignments will undergo a 5 point reduction in possible score for each day beyond the due date.

8. All exams must be taken as scheduled. Make-up exams will be given only in extreme circumstances and must have my prior approval.

9. Students in need of learning accommodations may discuss this directly with me and/or contact the University’s Learning Plus office at 860-768-4522.

10. Students of the course are subject to the rules and regulations of the University of Hartford’s Academic Honesty Policy and Code of Student Conduct as outlined in The Source.

11. Students may appeal any component of this course in accordance with the Academic Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Policies and Procedures Manual of the Radiologic Technology Program.


I look forward to a productive and rewarding semester. It is my honor and pleasure to assist you in your professional studies in the science and practice of Radiologic Technology. Best wishes for success!