In Summary - Radiographer - Diagnostic
The Work - Radiographer - Diagnostic
Diagnostic radiographers work mainly within the radiology and imaging departments of hospitals but may also work in surgeries/clinics. Radiology departments within hospitals normally include a number of sections encompassing a wide range of different imaging modalities e.g. ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, nuclear medicine and, of course, x-rays.
Diagnostic radiographers are able to undertake most investigations but may later specialise in one particular area. Diagnostic radiographers use a range of imaging technology:
- X-ray - looks through tissues to examine bones, cavities and foreign objects
- Fluoroscopy - images the digestive system providing a real-time image.
- CT (Computed Tomography) - which provides cross-sectional views (slices) of the body
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - builds a 2D or 3D map of the different tissue types within the body
- Ultrasound - well known for its use in obstetrics and gynaecology. Also used to check circulation and examine the heart
- Angiography - used to investigate blood vessels.
Diagnostic radiographers provide a service for most departments within the hospital including, accident and emergency, outpatients, operating theatres and wards. Close liaison and collaboration with a wide range of other health care professionals is therefore vital.
X-rays and ultrasound are just two of the imaging techniques used by diagnostic radiographers to look at injuries or disease, or monitor changes inside the body. While most diagnostic radiographers carry out a range of procedures, they may specialise in techniques such as computerised tomography scanning, or magnetic resonance imaging which uses magnetic field and radio frequency waves to produce cross-sectional images of the body.
Ultrasound is used in various settings in a hospital, including abdominal scanning and breast ultrasound. Ultrasound imaging is the use of high frequency sound in excess of human hearing to produce images of structures of the human body that may be observed on a screen. These images may subsequently be transferred to photographic film, paper, video or a CD forming part of the patients' record of their examination.
There are no direct entry routes into ultrasound. Most sonographers train as a radiographer then undertake an approved post-registration course, offered by higher education institutions. The courses are a minimum of one academic year and prepare sonographers clinically and academically for practice. Normally a pre-requisite for acceptance is access to a clinical department with supervised practice for students.
Diagnostic radiography is a fast-moving and continually changing profession, and long-term career prospects include:
- clinical work
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Review and evaluate developed x-rays, video tape, or computer-generated information to determine if images are satisfactory for diagnostic purposes.
- Operate or oversee operation of radiologic or magnetic imaging equipment to produce images of the body for diagnostic purposes.
- Use radiation safety measures and protection devices to comply with government regulations and to ensure safety of patients and staff.
- Position imaging equipment and adjust controls to set exposure time and distance, according to specification of examination.
- Explain procedures and observe patients to ensure safety and comfort during scan.
- Position and immobilize patient on examining table.
- Take thorough and accurate patient medical histories.
- Key commands and data into computer to document and specify scan sequences, adjust transmitters and receivers, or photograph certain images.
- Set up examination rooms, ensuring that all necessary equipment is ready.
- Monitor patients' conditions and reactions, reporting abnormal signs to physician.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Interests - Radiographer - Diagnostic
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
You will need the ability to relate to and communicate with patients of all ages and backgrounds. Some of them may be anxious - you will need to put them at their ease.
You must be confident in learning new skills and working with complex high technology equipment. A methodical approach, accuracy and attention to detail are necessary.
Entry Requirements - Radiographer - Diagnostic
Pay & Salary - Radiographer - Diagnostic
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 32k - 51k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Radiographer - Diagnostic
This group includes pharmacists, psychologists, dentists, radiographers, vets, and health services managers. While demand is strong for many healthcare professionals, shortages have only been identified for radiographers.
National Skills Bulletin 2018