Correct diagnosis is important for providing exact treatment for a disease. For some ailments it is not possible to find out the diseases by the symptoms alone. Radiography is used to diagnose the ailment and diseases of the internal and hidden parts of the body using X-ray, Fluoroscopy, Ultrasound (sonography), CTscan (Computer Tomography), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Angiography, PET (Positron Emission Tomography) etc. PET is a nuclear medicine medical imaging, a branch of medicine and medical imaging that uses unsealed radioactive substances in diagnosis and therapy, which produces a three dimensional image of the functional processes in the body.
Unless we get a detailed image of internal body parts and what is happening in the body the treatment will not be effective. Radiography is concerned with operating radio imaging machines such as X-ray and interpreting results. It also involves treatment of cancers and tumors with radiation. There are two career choices in the field- Diagnostic Radiography and Therapeutic Radiography. The responsibility of a Diagnostic radiographer is to explain the procedure to the patients, prepare them for the tests and operate the machine, and do the maintenance of equipment and records. They also assist physicians in performing procedures such as Myelograms (an exam to detect injuries, Cysts or tumours in the spinal cord) and surgeons in the operating room with portable x-ray machines or fluoroscopic machines.
Therapeutic radiography or Radiotherapy is now being used in the treatment and diagnosis of a large number of diseases, including cancer, tumors and ulcers. A therapy radiographer use radiation in highly controlled conditions in the treatment of tumor. Exact amount of radiation will shrink the tumour.
The need for professionals in the field of radiography is increasing. A radiographer (also called Radiologic technologist) have to handle the equipments and upgrade their skills now and then as technology advances. As more sophisticated newer machines are coming up and experts in this career is less, there is an increase in the need for radiographers.
There are a lot of job opportunities for radiographers inside the country as well as internationally. In India there are a lot of jobs in health services. Radiographers are required in large numbers in nursing homes, hospitals, diagnostic centers and super speciality hospitals. The job of a radiographer also covers areas like medicine, research and teaching. The field of nuclear medicine and photography are also open to x-ray technicians and radiographers. Radiographers have to make high quality images which in turn will help to diagnose disease and injury. They are employed in the X-ray and ultrasound departments of medical institutions and clinics.
Radiographers have to work in diagnostic imaging department, intensive care unit, operating theatre, along with doctors and other hospital staff. In short they have to work as a team.
The following job profiles also comes under radiography
Radio Diagnosis: It is the method of diagnosing the patient's illness with the help of X-ray, ultrasound or other such equipment.
Radio Therapy: A therapy radiographer treat patients with tumour, using radiation in highly controlled conditions.
Radiation Protection: Specialists in this area monitor the levels of radiation exposure and thereby ensure that no one is over-exposed to these radiations, which could prove to be extremely harmful.
Those aspiring to make a career in the field should have a real interest in the science subjects such as Biology, Physiology and Anatomy. The courses for radiography starts at the graduate level. There are one year certificate courses also available. There are some institutes which conduct Diploma in diagnostic radiography and Radiotherapy of two years duration.
There are degree courses such as B.Sc in Radiography, B.Sc. (Hons.) in Medical Technology in Radiography. The duration for the graduate programme is three years. Candidates who have passed their 10+2 or equivalent with 50% marks in mathematics, physics and chemistry are eligible for entry into the course.
Personal Skills: Radiography is essentially a service oriented field.Patience, a calm temperament, an objective approach towards the patients and an understanding of people of all ages, the ability to infuse confidence in patients, tolerance, a strong willpower, strength of mind and purpose are essential for people aspiring to make a career in the field. Other skills required are a strong scientific and technical bent of mind, the ability to learn new skills and adapt to the changes, communication skills and a spirit for teamwork, good powers of observation, accurate judgment and self-confidence.
In the government establishments, medical technologists get a starting salary of approximately Rs 6000 per month. X-ray technicians get a starting salary of Rs 5000 to Rs 8000 per month.
Junior occupational therapists may initially draw salaries ranging between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,500 per month. Remuneration will increase with the rank and experience. In the private sector, salaries are a lot higher.