A radiation therapist usually works in a hospital or other medical environment and assists an oncologist. The therapist will often provide radiation therapy treatments to patients with cancer. The radiation therapy may also go over various materials, such as CT scans, to help determine where treatment is needed.
Graduation from an approved radiation therapy school is required. The therapist should be licensed to practice. The radiation therapist will operate applicable equipment, such as linear accelerators, so he or she should be able to maintain and troubleshoot the machinery.
Usually, the equipment will administer x-ray beams targeting the patient’s cancer cells, in order to diminish or remove them. The radiation therapist may have to provide input about the interpretation of results of the therapy that is administered. It is important to be able to explain procedures to patients and to help them feel at ease. Strong communication skills and the ability to be compassionate are important. It is essential to have physical strength and to be able to bend, stoop, and lift heavy items. Some weekend and nighttime hours may be required. There may also be some periods when the therapist is required to be on-call, since a radiation therapist may be required around the clock by a hospital.
Radiation Therapist Tasks
Enter data into computer and set controls to operate and adjust equipment and regulate dosage.
Check for side effects such as skin irritation, nausea and hair loss to assess reaction to treatment.
Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
Position patient and administer prescribed doses of radiation using radiation therapy equipment.
Use radiation safety measures and protection devices to comply with government regulations and to ensure safety of patients and staff.