Radiographer experiences of personal protective equipment during COVID-19 in Gauteng, South Africa

Lynne Janette Hazell, Laura Amy Stork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers (HCWs) were found to be at a greater risk of becoming infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). This disease is highly contagious and is for the most part preventative if correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used while attending to patients. Subsequently, a lack of PPE in South Africa was putting the lives of health care workers at risk impacting on the functioning of the healthcare system. Methods: This exploratory, descriptive, qualitative study used purposeful sampling to obtain data saturation. The study comprised twelve individual interviews with radiographers from both private and government hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa who worked in x-ray departments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Online video interviews were conducted. The transcripts of the interviews were further coded into themes and categorised using thematic analysis and verified by an independent coder. Results: The radiographers’ experiences of PPE during COVID-19 in Gauteng, South Africa generated 3 themes: radiographers’ experiences with PPE supplied during COVID-19, workplace practices and procedures for PPE during COVID-19 and emotional challenges faced during PPE shortage. Discussion: While there was an understandable fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus during the height of the pandemic. The researcher also believes that radiographers would benefit greatly by receiving training on how to use PPE correctly for infection control in highly stressful situations. Education is required for use of PPE when supply is scarce and the number of infected patients outweighs the quantities of PPE available. This study further found that there needs to be more support given to healthcare workers (HCW's) to assess their mental health and emotional stress experienced when facing a pandemic. Conclusion: While COVID-19 has started to settle, the lessons learnt should inform recommendations on PPE use, regarding procurement and preservation. In addition, mental health assessments can be considered for radiographers during future pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Diagnostic radiographers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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