A radiologic technologist, who can also be referred to as a radiographer, is a medical professional tasked with producing medical images of the body, commonly with an X-ray equipment, analyzing the results and referring them to physicians in order to help them make diagnosis and provide treatment for the injured and sick. Should you be interested in taking on this medical career, formal education and training is the primary requirement, which can be given by hospitals, colleges, universities and radiology tech schools.
The term radiologic technologist is actually a general term which may refer to several specialties within this medical field. A professional in this field may also be called a sonographer, therapist and radiographer , all of them having different specializations.
As a radiologic technologist, you can specialize in different areas, examples of which are Diagnostic Radiography for examining bones, cavities and foreign object in the body, Sonography which employs high-frequency ultrasound to take images of the body, and Radiotherapy which uses radiation to reduce or eliminate cancerous cells.
Before a radiologic technologist can take images of a patient’s body for diagnosis, he first makes sure that patients are prepared for the examination by briefing them on the imaging procedure that they are about to undergo. X-rays are very commonly used, and these professionals make sure jewelries and other interfering objects are removed from the patient.
Radiographers make use radiographic equipment by properly positioning it at the correct angle and height over the area of the patient’s body that needs to be scanned. With the help of an instrument similar to a measuring tape, they are able to determine the appropriate thickness of the area to be scanned and control the equipment to provide images of the right detail. They then position an X-ray film underneath the body part to be scanned and make the exposure, after which the film gets developed for analysis.
It is important that the radiologic technologist accurately complies with the doctor’s orders and follow the standards involving the proper use of radiographic equipment, as well as protecting themselves, patients and co-workers from unnecessary exposure to radiation. Besides preparation of patients and equipment operation, they can also keep track of patient records, maintain radiographic equipment, prepare work schedules, and even management of a radiology department.
As with most medical profession, being a radiologic technologist requires one to be in good physical shape and stamina, as they will most likely be working actively on their feet for long periods of time and may be needed to help lift or turn disabled patients. They may also work either full-time or part time, work on evenings or graveyard shifts, even on weekends or holidays.
Despite the hazards involved in this medical profession, particularly from radiation, these are greatly minimized with the help of specialized protective gear like lead aprons, gloves and other devices that deflects radiation. Adherence to safety procedures set by your workplace can also help.
Formal educational programs for a radiologic technologist can vary from 1 to 4 years and can grant them a certificate, an associate or a bachelor’s degree. Because of its short length and the wide array of entry-level jobs available after completing it, it is commonly the two-year associate degree programs that students take. Before you decide to venture in this medical profession, it is important that you first review your qualifications and your desire to pursue this course.