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A Day in the Life of a Radiology Technician

Apr 08, 2010

If you are interested in becoming a radiology technician then it may be a good idea to find out what a typical day as a radiology technician is like. This way you can learn the demands of the job, what it involves, and decide whether it is the right type of career for you.

In general, as a radiology technician you will start the day fairly early, at about 7 am. Some radiology technician’s may work night shifts to deal with emergency radiology requirements, while others may work standard hospital rotating day to night shifts. Your day may also depend on what type of equipment you are trained on, whether it is X-ray machines, CT scanners, MRIs, or Ultrasound machines.

Once you arrive at the workplace, whether it is a hospital or other care center you will need to check to see where you are assigned. Again, this will depend on your training and background, as well as the demand in specific areas for the day. Usually all the diagnostic imaging machines are located on the same floor, so it is easy to float between departments.

Upon reaching your assigned area you will likely be involved in ensuring that the machine is calibrated properly for the next scan, and you will also have to complete some paperwork for all tests that are performed. Sometimes a patient may be bumped if a more urgent patient needs a scan, in which case you need to be prepared.

Since diagnostic imaging machines are underfunded and over utilized you can expect to be busy most of the time. Besides the regularly scheduled patients you will often be appealed to by doctors to fit other patients in, since they may be waiting for an operation. It can be very hectic, but very rewarding.

Some radiologist technicians are also trained in interventional procedures, meaning that they work directly with surgeons to map out arteries or other parts of the body that require a surgical procedure. This can involve spending a few hours with a surgical team, helping to guide needles or balloons that travel down the veins to help alleviate blockages.

Radiology technicians can also assist with other procedures, such as barium enemas. In these cases they take an initial X-ray of the bowel and rectum, so that the blockage can be identified. They then help the radiologist prepare the material and take films along the way to ensure the procedure is running smoothly. They will also help with clean up, which is not the best perk, but just a fact of working in health care.

If you are lucky enough to land a consistent day shift as a radiology technician, you may be asked to take on call shifts in the evenings and on weekends. Usually you will work only periodic off shifts, but when you are on call you will need to remain close to the hospital and you have to arrive ready to work – so no drinking. This is yet another downside of the health care industry – it runs 24/7, so sometimes so do you.

However, overall working as a radiology technician is very rewarding, and it lets you help people all day long. While you may be busy, you definitely won’t be bored, and these types of jobs are readily available at hospitals and health care centers across the country. In the next few years there is going to be a huge demand for radiology technicians and other health care workers, so if you get started now in just a few years you can have a great job.

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