If you have a dream of being a radiographer, you need to bear a few things in mind first.
In this role, you’ll work closely with a large medical team. It’s one of the most exciting and rapidly advancing sectors within medicine, so you’re bound to enjoy plenty of job satisfaction in this sort of role.
Read on to get a better idea of whether this job is for you:
1. You Need Interpersonal Skills
You need great interpersonal skills before you can become a radiographer. It’ll be your job to take useful information from the collected data and figure out the problem. Problem-solving skills are a must in this profession.
2. Developing Your Technical Skills
Developing your technical skills is all a part of the profession. You’ll need to work with an extensive range of equipment, being able to use it safely and confidently.
Just some of the things you’ll need to be confident with include:
- X-ray radiography
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Nuclear imaging
3. Working on Your Communication Skills
Your communication skills need to be top-notch in this profession. You’ll need to be able to communicate with patients, families, and your colleagues, focusing on the details and being as accurate as possible in your interpretations.
4. How You’ll Learn
Learning in this profession is split between practical and theoretical work. You will learn by working in a hospital department with real patients half of the time, so be prepared to get hands-on.
Different schools may have a slightly different curriculum set up, so make sure you know which suits you best. You can look at appropriate radiology schools here. The one you choose will have a great effect on your experience, so bear that in mind.
What will you study? Here’s a brief rundown of what should be included:
- Anatomy – about the structure of the human body.
- Physiology – how each part of the body functions.
- Patient care – preparing patients for their x-ray.
- Radiation physics – you must understand how x-rays are created in order to perform well in the role.
- Medical terminology – working knowledge of medical terms is required.
- Medical ethics – things like patient privacy and end of life discussions.
- Radiobiology – natural and man-made radiation.
- Pathology – illnesses and diseases in humans.
- Positioning classes – how to properly position patients to get the best images.
- Labs – how to use different machine settings, how to properly care for and clean machines.
5. Your Work Environment
Knowing what your work environment will be like is a must. They can vary depending on whether you work in hospitals or outpatient diagnostic centres, but some aspects are the same.
Many don’t realize that radiologists can now practice in any location equipped with a computer, high-resolution monitor and internet connectivity too, because of advances in technology.
Although you will work with people, you may go weeks without a face to face patient consultation, unlike other medical professionals who are constantly working with patients.
You will work irregular shifts that include night’s, weekends, and holidays. Those employed in an outpatient centre are more likely to work regular business hours.
6. Landing the Job
In order to land a job as a radiographer, you need excellent medical school grades, outstanding USMLE scores, glowing letters of recommendation, and ideally, a good amount of exposure to the industry.
Only the top academic performers will get places on the courses and into the jobs they want. You should focus on earning good grades in physics, chemistry, anatomy, and advanced math classes, either in high school or college. This is so important, as the competition is tough.
7. Career Progression
8. A Variety of Tasks and Responsibilities
It’ll be your job to screen patients and prepare them physically and mentally for the x-ray. You must properly enter data into computers, and keep your work areas clean and stocked.
You should expect to spend much of your time x-raying a patient’s bones, lungs, and/or abdomen – this is the most frequent treatment. Bear in mind that it is up to the doctor to read the x-ray and tell patients the outcome. Even if patients ask you what you see, you should not tell them.
Career as a Radiographer will be challenging, but it’ll be worth it. Leave your own thoughts and experiences below!