What Does A Radiology Technician Do?

Radiology technicians are healthcare professionals who are indispensable in helping medical doctors arrive at an accurate diagnosis of a patient’s condition. Also known as radiologic technologists, radiology technicians operate the different kinds of imaging equipment in the hospital or clinic in order to take images of the internal organs and systems of people afflicted with various kinds of medical conditions. Their expertise enables them to produce images of the body that the doctor wants a closer look at in order to verify and confirm his diagnosis.

Radiology technicians are trained to operate various kinds of imaging equipment. These include x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scanner, mammograms and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. They know the procedures that need to be undertaken in order to produce the clearest images that the doctor can use for his diagnosis. They also know how to put the patient at ease so that the imaging will proceed as planned.

When a patient is brought to the imaging department, a radiology technician will first talk to the patient to inform him of the procedure. He does his best to explain the steps that will be undertaken, the length of time it will take and any particular positions that the patient must do or solutions that he must drink to ensure that the image taken will be clear. If the patient has questions or worries, the radiology technician will address these and do his best to reassure him that there is little risk to the procedure.

Radiologic technologists also take the medical history of the patient to determine if they have medical conditions or implants that will necessitate extra care in the imaging process. For instance, pregnant women are discouraged from taking x-rays and CT scans unless it is medically necessary. If imaging is needed, doctors would opt for an MRI and see to it that protective covering such as a lead shield be placed on the abdominal area to protect the baby from exposure. Care must also be taken when subjecting patients with heart implants or pacemakers to any imaging test. Radiology technicians must also make sure that the patient is not wearing any accessories like necklaces, rings or earrings that could compromise the images that will be produced.

In procedures where the doctor requires very clear images to ensure the accuracy of his diagnosis, radiology technicians may be asked to inject non-radioactive material or contrast agents that are barium or iodine-based. In some cases, the contrast mixture need not be injected but simply be given to the patient to be taken orally. They position the patient in order to get the best possible image and give final instructions before operating the equipment and capturing the images. If the patient needs to be moved to various positions during the duration of the procedure, the radiology technician will simply instruct the patient. They may need to provide physical assistance to patients who are unconscious, injured, intubated or catheterized.

After the imaging procedure, the radiology technicians will check the quality of the mages. They need to make sure that only the clearest images are forwarded to the doctor. Once the doctor sees the images, he may confer with the technician if he has questions about them or if more detailed images need to be taken. If more images need to be taken, the radiology technician may need to change the angle in which the first set of images were taken or instruct the patient to pose differently.

Radiology technicians are responsible for maintaining the imaging equipment that they operate. They clean it regularly and see to it that it is functioning well. In case the equipment is malfunctioning, they coordinate with a medical equipment repairer to conduct the necessary repairs.

Radiology testing is a profession that potentially exposes the radiology technicians to magnetic fields and ionizing radiation. They must also take the necessary precautions to protect themselves. They are required to put on protective gear such as lead aprons and other shielding devices that would minimize their exposure. To measure the radiation levels in their work area, they also need to wear badges and keep records of the dose they have accumulated over time.

Career Spotlight: Radiology Technician

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