Prescription rights for New Zealand MRI technologists – An opportunity for role extension

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Kruger, Exelda
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Health Science (Medical Radiation Technology)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Yielder, Jill
Park, Shelley
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
medical resonance imaging
MRI technologists
medical radiation technologists
prescription rights
contrast media
role extension
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Kruger, E. (2011). Prescription rights for New Zealand MRI technologists – An opportunity for role extension. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Health Science (Medical Radiation Technology)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
The New Zealand Institute of Medical Radiation Technology (NZIMRT) has approved a recommendation that would allow the profession to introduce a three tier career framework. This framework includes an advanced practitioner role within the scope of practice for medical radiation technologists (MRTs). Currently, prescribing is not within the scope of practice for MRTs; however, there is a potential for non-medical prescribing to become an extended role for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologists. Using case study research, the views of MRI technologists and radiologists were investigated with regard to extending the role of the MRI technologists into the area of prescribing with the emphasis on gadolinium-based contrast media, which are frequently utilised in MRI. Data were obtained from three sources. Ninety-nine MRI technologists and 69 radiologists responded to a questionnaire related to their experiences with gadolinium-based contrast media and prescription practices. Four MRI technologists and two radiologists were interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of the issues related to contrast media prescription. The data provided by the critical incident reports were integrated with the data collected from the questionnaires and interviews to support the opinions and experiences of participants. The study has revealed that the prescription of contrast media is occurring rather haphazardly across New Zealand. There is evidence that gadolinium-based contrast media are already prescribed by some MRI technologists. However, there is resistance from radiologists and to a lesser extent from MRI technologists with regard to prescribing as a potential area of role extension. The results of the study have revealed that there is no definitive need for MRI technologists to gain prescription rights. In spite of this, 45.5% of respondents have expressed interest into extending their role into the area of non-medical prescribing. Prescribing could be introduced as part of an advanced practitioner role. However, a number of other issues have also been identified that needs addressing. They are: the introduction of a national IV certificate for MRI technologists, improvement of the current CPR training, and pharmacology for MRI technologists.
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