An X Ray Technicians Work
One of the oldest diagnostic imaging methods known to man is with the use of an x-ray machine. The person responsible for operating the machine is called an x-ray technician. It is his job to ensure that the patient is placed in the proper position so he can take a proper picture or plate of a specific area in the body such as a bone or tissue.
Before the procedure, an x-ray technician instructs the patient to wear a patient gown, and remove any object made of metal. Metal objects can affect the way a physician interprets the plates, and can look as if it is lodged deep inside the body. Then he explains how the procedure works and what position a patient should be in. During the procedure, there is no discomfort felt by the patient at all as an x-ray exam is a non-invasive procedure. The x-ray technician wears a lead uniform so he is protected from the radiation from the x-ray machine. A patient’s short term exposure has not been shown to be dangerous, but x-ray technologists need to wear lead suits constantly as they take pictures so they are properly protected. Constant exposure without proper protection has been linked to cancer-related deaths. Those patients who are expecting to become pregnant should also stay away from the x-ray department as the radiation can cause a miscarriage or deformity in the baby.
Once the plates are developed, the x-ray technician is the first one to see the results. They can interpret basic findings in the plates, and those findings that require emergency treatment are reported directly to the physician. Normal findings that do not require attention don’t need to be reported immediately and can wait for hours before they are seen by the physician. Even though surgical technicians are highly qualified to interpret the data that they see, they are not allowed by law and ethics to tell the patient. It is unethical for the x-ray technician to tell the patient about the findings as only the physician or nurse practitioner has earned the right to interpret the data to the patient.
X-ray technicians can find work at hospital laboratories, private owned diagnostic centers, dental offices and palliative centers. Some experienced x-ray technicians can ride inside the ambulance and work alongside the paramedics during emergency cases.
Those interested in becoming x-ray technologists must be high school graduates and find accredited schools to get a job. There are courses online that offer the same services as campus schools, but they cannot provide their students with the much needed experience. Typically, x-ray technologists need to study for 1-4 years in order to obtain a certificate, associates, or bachelor’s degree. Once their schooling is over, x-ray technologists can find experience inside private clinics and earn a decent salary.