The radiology technician, which is what our program prepares graduates to become, is the person that is responsible for providing patient care and obtaining the images that we will give to the radiologist. The radiologist is a medical doctor who interprets those images in order to aid in a diagnosis and treatments for a patient.
We do also work very closely with other health team members. Most facilities, we will be working with nursing staff, medical lab staff, medical assisting, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. So there's a wide variety of other health care members that we do interact and communicate with.
Some of the main duties of a radiology technician is to provide quality patient care, and that includes good radiation protection practices. During the curriculum in the program, students will learn how to provide good patient care and also good radiation protection. As part of providing good patient care, we do communicate very closely with our patients.
Many people think that we just take x-rays and we don't have much interaction with our patients - and that is completely false. We do very much become involved with our patients, we have very close personal communication with them, as we're obtaining their history, and trying to make them comfortable during their exam. In order to ensure that we do provide good quality images, we do have to make sure that our positioning is correct and accurate, so there will be touching of patients in order to feel for certain bone landmarks that we use in our positioning.
We also deal with bodily fluids as well, so we deal with blood in trauma situations. We also deal with vomit if people are not feeling well, and are nauseated. We also deal with urine and faeces as well. Just wanted to put that upfront and be honest with what all you will be involved with. I'm hoping that when you go out and do your observation hours, that you really take note and use that time to find out what exactly it is that we do, and to ask the technologist, and the students (if they're there), lots of questions.
Some of the different areas that we're involved in in radiography are just our routine, type of exams, such as our chest x-rays, abdomens, hands, feet - we can image any bone within the body. For many people, that's what they think that we do, and that it ends there, but we certainly do so much more than just x-raying bones and hands and feet. We do have fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy includes some exams such as upper GIs and barium enemas.
We can also go to surgery. There's a number of surgical exams that the surgeon will need images ticking while that surgery is progressing, so we are right in the surgery suite while that surgery is happening. We also deal with traumas. Depending on where you might have your clinical side-adder, where you gain employment, some facilities don't really deal with trauma a lot. Then if you work in an intercity, more than likely, you'll see lots of traumas.
We also deal with pediatrics and geriatrics, so kids and the very elderly as well. As far as our patient population that we interact with anybody, our patients are all shapes and sizes and ages, so we deal with everybody. You can certainly specialise in different areas, so if you want to work with kids you can find employment at a pediatric facility.
Some of the different employment settings that we have, our largest employer are hospitals, however, you can obtain employment at physicians' offices, outpatient clinics, mobile companies (where they load a mobile x-ray unit into a truck or car, and they'll go out to the nursing homes and take images there, instead of having the patient come to the hospital). You can also get employment in surgical centres.