If you didn’t already know what Radiography was, a simple google search will probably tell you that its something to do with X-rays. While that’s not entirely wrong, radiography consists of so much more. A radiographer will operate a range of imaging machines from X-rays to MRIs to produce an image that helps the medical team determine what is going on inside a patient’s body, or to treat an illness or injury. This is not to be confused with radiology which is more heavily focused on the diagnosis side.
A big part of their role will involve caring for anxious, wounded or sick patients, some of whom do not know what is wrong with their body, some of whom are terrified by what they do know, so good people skills are essential to provide them with proper support.
Is Radiography For Me?
Do you have a passion for healthcare and making a real impact on the lives of others, regardless of age and background? Are you fascinated by the resilience of the human body and ways in which it can overcome problems? Do you have a deep interest in technology and how it can be used in medical environments? Then it sounds like radiography is for you. But there are still two branches to choose from, diagnostic or therapeutic radiography.
This is the medical imaging side of radiography. If you value variety, you won’t be displeased with this choice. You may use a range of equipment to examine patients or specialise in one area such as ultrasound. As you gain experience or become more specialised you may also be involved in the interpretation and diagnosis conducted by a radiologist. You will also liaise with many other departments yo ensure the patient receives the correct follow up treatment.
This side of radiography is more heavily focused on patient care and involves the administration of radiation to help treat diseases, usually cancer. This role involves planning and explains treatment programs to your patients, calculating doses and operating machinery to safely and correctly apply them, and liaising with other departments while keeping accurate records to assist anyone else who handles the patient. You will need to offer emotional support and build a relationship with the patient and their family to help them in difficult times.
Forging Your Career Path
If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, much of the education process is the same up to degree level, requiring strong grades and at least one science at each tier of education. Following this you will need to take a radiography based degree that is approved by the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), you can check the specific requirements for each university and review alternative entry options.
On completion of your degree and hence with plenty of placement experience, you will be ready to search for radiographer jobs, which is easier through an agency who specialise in health care roles. Further training will always be available if you want to specials further or need to learn new skills for developing technologies.
With plenty of options even outside of the hospital environment, this can be an extremely rewarding and varied career to choose.