Health Care Workers’ Use and Cleaning of X-Ray Aprons and Thyroid Shields

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We evaluated the use and cleaning of x-ray aprons and thyroid shields by surveying rural hospital system health care workers who wear x-ray aprons and thyroid shields. One hundred fifty-five of the 173 respondents were RNs (89.6%), and 94 respondents were from inpatient or outpatient surgical settings (54.3%). One hundred thirty-five respondents (78.0%) reported soiled x-ray aprons or thyroid shields, and 52 (30.1%) reported shield odors. Eighty-three participants (48.0%) indicated they never spot cleaned. Standard department cleaning never occurred for 37 x-ray aprons or thyroid shields (21.4%); and 114 x-ray aprons or thyroid shields (65.9%) contacted a patient or patient item 1 to 10 times per shift. Twenty-six participants (15%) specified there were policies and procedures for cleaning x-ray aprons and thyroid shields. Use of evidence-based cleaning guidelines and manufacturer’s requirements for effective spot and standard cleaning of the protective aprons and thyroid shields are warranted.

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