Home News Latest News NMBI publishes new education standards for DXA scanning

NMBI publishes new education standards for DXA scanning

Home News Latest News NMBI publishes new education standards for DXA scanning
February 02, 2023

NMBI has today published new educational standards and requirements to regulate the practice of Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scanning by nurses.

NMBI has published new educational standards and requirements to regulate the practice of Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scanning by nurses. 

DXA is a modern technology which combines X-rays, a computer and software which provides quantitative and qualitative assessment of body tissues. Nurses in Ireland can undertake the practical aspects of DXA scanning if they have completed the education programme. The programme will address safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to medical ionising radiation. 

As a professional regulator, NMBI is responsible for setting standards for the education and training of nurses and midwives, to ensure the protection of the public and the integrity of the professions. NMBI developed these standards following the transposition of a European directive which requires new education standards to ensure public and staff safety when nurses perform bone density scans using ionising radiation (X-ray). This marks the first education standards published by a regulator in Ireland in this area of practise. 

The new requirements aim to ensure a standardised approach to DXA education programmes and to ensure that nurses are competent to administer a DXA scan to adult service users in a healthcare setting following completion of the education programme. The standards set out the key aims of ensuring nursing practice in this area is safe, compassionate, professional and accountable. 

NMBI is responsible for approving and monitoring nursing and midwifery education programmes to ensure the programmes meet high standards. The document explains the legislative frameworks and the standards required for education bodies and their associated healthcare providers who are developing, delivering and evaluating educational programmes.  

Sheila McClelland, CEO of NMBI welcomed the publication of the programme: “I am pleased to launch this publication, which will guide education bodies in developing education programmes for nurses carrying out DXA scans, in line with Irish and EU legislation. The standards focus on the safety of the person receiving a DXA scan to minimise exposure to radiation, ensuring patient safety is always at the forefront of nursing practice. NMBI is the first regulator in the country to introduce standards of this kind. We hope they will contribute to public safety and provide nurses with the required training and competence in DXA scanning. I want to thank all the stakeholders who engaged with us in support of the development and implementation of these important new standards, and we look forward to working with education bodies as education programmes are developed and rolled out for the nursing profession.”

Carolyn Donohoe, Director of Education, Policy and Standards, NMBI, added: “The development and implementation of standards of practice and education is a key function of our role as a regulator. This document aims to support education bodies and associated healthcare providers to develop high-quality training and education for nurses in this area of practice, which will ensure quality and safe services to all patients. The document also provides guidance for nurses on what to expect from the education programme. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to ensure these standards support the training and development of nurses to provide DXA scans within their scope of practice.”

NMBI developed the standards with the support of a national interdisciplinary group, including representatives from the HSE and Irish DXA Society. NMBI also engaged with the regulators of ionising radiation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Nurses Undertaking the Practical Aspects of Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) Scanning for Adults (1st Edition) is now available on our website.

You can also read the document here.

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