The Radiation Therapist administers prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation, therapy equipment according to established practices and standards. The Radiation Therapist must position patients for treatment with accuracy according to prescription. The Radiation Therapist is the one who enters data into the computer and set goals to operate equipment. They must adjust equipment and regulate dosage, in accordance to the needs of the patient. The Radiation Therapist must follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
The Radiation Therapist must be capable of maintaining records, reports and files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings and patients’ reactions to the treatments that they have been given. The Radiation Therapist must be able to recognize when a patient needs the help of the physician or prescribing care giver because of the radiation that they are receiving. In some cases patients are not capable of withstanding the amount of radiation therapy prescribed and the dosage must be reduced accordingly and then increased on a slower time table. The Radiation Therapist must be able to detect this when it happens and since the patient will have a reaction to a certain extent this might be difficult to recognize. That is why if the Radiation Therapist is in doubt that they should contact the attending physician on behalf of the patient working as the liaison between the two.
Most Radiation Therapists realize that when a patient is getting unduly ill from the treatment that the body cannot tolerate the amount of the prescribed dosage or the cancer is advancing at a much more rapid pace. Unfortunately, for some patients, the cancer can cause the treatment to act much harsher on the body than expected but without the treatment the patient’s cancer will not subside. It is very important to kill the cancer cells before they take total control of the patient’s body causing them death. The Radiation Therapist must also check the radiation equipment constantly to make sure that it is working properly before each treatment. The Radiation Therapist observes and reassures the patients during treatment and reports unusual reactions to physician or turns equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur. Then the Radiation Therapist checks for side effects such as skin irritation, nausea and hair loss to assess patients’ reaction to treatment.
One of the most important parts of the job of the Radiation Therapist is to educate, prepare and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians’ advice regarding treatment reactions and post-treatment care.
The Radiation Therapist is the one who calculates actual treatment dosages delivered during each session. He prepares and constructs equipment, such as immobilization, treatment and protection devices. Then the Radiation Therapist must photograph treated area of patient and process the film. The Radiation Therapist usually helps physicians, radiation oncologists and clinical physicists to prepare physical and technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy. While working with those who are responsible for the patients treatment program the Radiation Therapist may also be training or supervising students in radiotherapy technologies. The training of Radiation Therapist is done partly in the classroom but a lot of hours are spent doing the actual work with a professional Radiation Therapist.
The follow up care is implemented by the Radiation Therapist along with the care of the equipment used in radiation therapy. The Radiation Therapist must store, sterilize or prepare the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician. The Radiation Therapist must assist in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials, such as cobalt, radium, cesium and isotopes, for use in radiation treatments. The Radiation Therapist must have knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer’s needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
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