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Radiologic Technologist

Job Description

 

Radiologic technologists perform diagnostic imaging procedures, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-ray examinations and computed tomography (CT) scans and administer radiation therapy treatments.

Some radiologic technologists specialize in specific imaging procedures, such as Mammography, sonography, cardiovascular-interventional radiography, bone densitometry, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine, quality management, or general radiography.

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Responsibilities

 

It is the radiologic technologist’s responsibility to properly position patients and obtain a quality diagnostic image. They work in close relationship with radiologists, who interpret the image to diagnose disease or identify injury.

The importance of this responsibility cannot be understated: it is imperative that the physician correctly interpret the imaging to accurately diagnose the patient’s condition.

Therefore, a radiologic technologist's job only allows for a small margin of error. 

There are specialty areas of radiologic techs hold different tasks and responsibilities based on the area of expertise.

Bone Densitometry Techs:

  • Specialize in measuring bone density and calculating bone mineral content. Their results help Physicians estimate the amount of bone loss due to osteoporosis and other bone diseases, track the rate of bone loss over time, and estimate the risk of fracture. 

Cardiovascular-Interventional Techs:

  • Use technology to guide tools such as catheters, and stents through the body to avoid making the patient undergo open surgery. 

Computed Tomography Techs:

  • Use a rotating x-ray to piece together layered, full-bodies images for diagnostics. They can also see into organs which can't be done with general radiography. 

Magnetic Resonance Techs:

  • Operates MR equipment which uses strong magnets to  manipulate atoms which give off signals that can be measured and processed by a computer that turns them into a detailed image of the patients body.   

Mammographers:

  • Produce images to help detect breast cancer and other anomalies in breast tissue. They have to meet strict standards under federal law--Mammography Quality Standards Act-- because what they do is super detailed and has little room for error. 

Nuclear Medicine Techs:

  • Use radiopharmaceuticals to get information on organs, tissues, and bone. They use the gamma rays emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals to create images on computers. 

Quality Management Techs:

  • Monitor the quality of processes and systems in the radiology department. The administer quality control tests, gauge the quality of tools and equipment, and see if techniques and results can be duplicated. 

Radiographers:

  • Produce black and white images of human anatomy by x-rays. They use the images to find fractures in bones and other anomalies in the body. 

Sonographers:

  • Administer what's known as an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create images of tissues and organs. The sound waves send back echoes that create the images. They use their skills when trying to find tumors or other anomalies, or when getting an ultrasound for pregnancies. 

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Skills

 

A radiologic technologist must be versed in a myriad of skills. They have to be able to determine different techniques for different problems and decide the best course of action.

They also need strong interpersonal skills since they deal with patients on a regular basis, along with clerical and professional skills as they sometimes manage groups and perform office tasks. 

Some of their skills include, but are not limited to, the following:

Active Listening

Must be able to listen to your patients and determine the best route for their care. You have to be able to understand what bothers them and ask intelligent questions to determine the best course of action.

Social Perceptiveness

Must know how people act and why they act that way. Being perceptive to their actions will allow for better treatment.

Critical Thinking

Determine appropriate actions and if there are alternative solutions available. Define the best solutions to your problems and the problems of your patients.

Monitoring

Work with other healthcare specialists to define the best treatments and plans of action.

Coordination

Work with other healthcare specialists to define the best treatments and plans of action.

Service Orientation

Must be driven to serving and improving the lives of others.

Judgment & Decision Making

Must be able to choose the best course of action and follow through. Use your knowledge to give the best care.

Problem Solving

Decipher issues and figure out why they are happening and solve them. Adapt and overcome situations to provide the best outcomes.

Strategy

Decide the best course of action for different situations to have the best outcomes.

Quality Control Analysis

Conduct tests and inspections of different products, services, and processes to evaluate quality and performance.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work fix it if problems arise.

Systems Evaluation

Identify system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance.

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Working Conditions

 

Most radiologic technology positions are full-time employment at 40 hours a week. Some positions may include evening, weekend or on-call assignments.

There are also opportunities for part-time and shift work available.

While hospitals remain one of the major employers of radiologic technicians, more employment opportunities are opening up as specialty clinics, such as orthopedic, sports medicine, cancer diagnosis and treatment centers, and urgent care facilities, are moving to employ their own bank of radiologic technologists for their practices.

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Salary Outlook