A Radiological Technologist is a health care professional who utilizes ionizing radiation (x-rays) to perform imaging examinations of the human body. Radiological technologists must enjoy working with people and be very adaptable to different situations. They are educated in anatomy, physiology, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection, and patient care and are involved in a broad variety of procedures which cover a number of specialty areas, including:
- Plain film radiological technology, i.e., x-rays of the chest, bones, joints, gastrointestinal studies, spine
- Mammography to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages
- Angiography to examine the heart, blood vessels and blood flow
- Fluoroscopy, i.e., real-time images that show movement
- Computerized tomography (CT scans), i.e., detailed cross-sectional images of the body
- Interventional radiography, use sophisticated imaging techniques to help guide catheters, vena cava filters, stents etc.. through the body, allowing for disease to be treated without surgery.
With appropriate imaging request from a physician, a technologist performs the imaging examination. By obtaining high-quality exams the technologist is assisting the radiologist by making it easier to interpret the images. Findings from the imaging examinations are used by treating physicians to make a diagnosis, prescribe an appropriate course of treatment and monitor treatment results.
As part of their professional duties, radiological technologists are responsible for:
- Explain the imaging exam to patients.
- Answer questions as fully as possible.
- Contribute to patient education.
- Comfort patients and provide emotional support.
- Position patients and equipment correctly.
- Ensure that patient, all staff and visitors are protected from radiation.
- Monitor patients during the procedure.
- Assist the radiologist for angiography and interventional procedures.
- Operate the equipment.
- Ensure equipment is operating within acceptable standards
There are numerous approved radiological technology programs available in Canada. A full list can be viewed through the provided link. In Nova Scotia the program is a four-year degree program offered through Dalhousie University Upon completion of this degree, you must then write a national entry to practice certification exam developed by the national association (Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists). MRTs must be a registrant of this association to work in Nova Scotia as an MRT.