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Public Health


Shanna Barnett


The level of knowledge and awareness among patients about the concepts and implications of medical radiation is unknown. The purpose of this qualitative, case study was to explore patients' awareness and knowledge of information regarding this topic from their perspectives. The health belief model provided the framework for the study. A total of 20 individuals were recruited using purposive sampling. All participants were above the age of 18 in central North Carolina and had undergone or are currently undergoing medical radiation exams. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and analyzed using Yin's 5-phased cycle, which involved compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding. According to study findings, patients were generally aware of the harmful effects and seriousness of medical radiation if uncontrolled. Patients also cited the importance of having the proper information and resources to educate oneself, being more careful with their bodies to avoid examinations with radiation, and hearing reports about individuals getting ill from medical radiation exposure as cues to action that may benefit patients who are about to undergo medical radiation exams. The findings of this study may contribute to positive social change by illustrating ways to improve information dissemination and involvement of patients in understanding medical radiation and its perceived risks. The results of this study may help health practitioners in developing strategies to encourage patients to discuss their medical radiation exposure concerns proactively.