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Should I Consider Becoming a Radiographer?

Career News July 1, 2014

Radiographers are a group of elite individuals. They are highly specialized in accurate delivery and management of treatment outcomes in all areas of advanced radiology and diagnostic imaging. Depending on educational background and abilities and background, the pay scale for radiography professionals may be quite attractive.

Two Types of Radiographers: Diagnostic and Therapeutic

They both employ a wide range of different techniques in imaging and specialized treatment. The equipment used by these professionals is sophisticated and complicated to the untrained individual.

In the diagnostic realm, radiographers use x-ray, fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scans, nuclear medicine, and angiography for disease assessment and treatment planning. With practice and excellent skill delivery, the diagnostic radiographer is instrumental in the short-term as well as long-term patient outcomes in disease management.

Therapeutic radiographers deliver radiotherapy services. These services include preparation and planning of treatment, accurate delivery of treatment, managing the patient during the treatment, follow-up, and documentation of treatment outcomes. They are intrinsically involved in patient and outcome management from beginning to end of the individual’s radiography excursion.

Radiography—a Demanding Profession

Because of the specialization of the occupation, they are the only healthcare professionals qualified to plan and deliver these types of treatments. The more advanced the techniques, the higher the chance of having unexpected outcomes which requires critical thinking skills and the ability to keep calm under pressure.

The hours may be long, and supporting call coverage may be limited due to lack of trained individuals in these specialized areas. There also may be substantial gaps in rural areas for these types of professionals. The ability to work with difficult personalities, maintain a positive attitude, keep patient confidence and dignity, and stay alert for emergent problems are all skills required of these individuals on a daily basis.

A regular day of the radiographer professional may begin as early as 7:00 a.m., depending on the facility and the particular specialty performed. The day may be long due to unexpected equipment problems or patient complications. A typical week may involve being “on call” for emergencies or delays as a result of difficult occurrences.

There may be decreased socialization for these individuals due to professional time demands as well. Donning of heavy, uncomfortable, protective gear is also paramount because of long-term exposure to radiographic mediums.

There are many clinical practice levels in this profession. They may include:

•Assistants
•Technicians
•Practitioners
•Consultants
•Service Managers
•Advanced Technicians (Engineers and Physicians)

Because a large part of medical diagnosis and treatment revolves around the science of radiography, an individual in this sphere of influence obtains the ability to affect scores of patients and their medical outcomes. There is much personal reward in saving lives and increasing the worth of life for patients that would otherwise expire or have poor life quality due to disease processes.

An attractive fact about radiography is that there are different modalities to pick from. If you like technology, anatomy, variety, and quick procedures, this branch of healthcare offers multiplicity in options of specialty. One must remember that as a student, actual hands-on experience may be limited, and it may be a challenge to keep interested.

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