Radiation Therapists

Description

Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

Tasks

  • Position patients for treatment with accuracy, according to prescription.
  • Administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy equipment according to established practices and standards.
  • Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Review prescription, diagnosis, patient chart, and identification.
  • Follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Maintain records, reports, or files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings, or patients' reactions.
  • Conduct most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician.
  • Enter data into computer and set controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
  • Observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
  • Check for side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, or hair loss to assess patients' reaction to treatment.
  • Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
  • Educate, prepare, and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.
  • Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Help physicians, radiation oncologists, or clinical physicists to prepare physical or technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy.
  • Photograph treated area of patient and process film.
  • Act as liaison with physicist and supportive care personnel.
  • Train or supervise student or subordinate radiotherapy technologists.
  • Implement appropriate follow-up care plans.
  • Assist in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials, such as cobalt, radium, cesium, or isotopes, for use in radiation treatments.
  • Store, sterilize, or prepare the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician.

Knowledge

Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Skills

Installation
Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

Abilities

Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.

Interests

Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Style

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Self Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Social Orientation
Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Computed Tomography Simulation Therapist (CT Simulation Therapist)
Dosimetrist
Radiation Therapist
Radiation Therapy Technician
Radiation Therapy Technologist (RTT)
Radiologic Therapist
Radiology Therapist
Registered Radiation Therapist
Staff Radiation Therapist

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$37.29 hourly, $77,560 annual.
Employment (2008):
18,230 employees