Medical Radiation Technologist
Does working in a profession that is fast paced and ever evolving, providing physicians with the tools to diagnose and treat their patients interest you? If so, then becoming a Medical Radiation Technologist might be the right career choice for you!
Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) are the professionals who contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of patients by using the most sophisticated imaging and therapeutic technologies to provide physicians with high quality images of the internal structures of the body, as well as radiation treatment to patients. As an MRT, you would be responsible for ensuring the images you acquire and the treatment you are providing are of the highest standard as per the discipline you are trained in. There are four (4) disciplines of MRTs, all of which provide quality patient care, while each is unique in their own way:
Radiological Technologist: using x-ray equipment and by placing patients into different positions (dependent on body part and equipment), images of the internal structures of the body are taken. Radiological technologists can work in a few areas, depending on their place of employment and level of post-graduate training:
- General radiography (x-ray) – common x-rays are of the chest and broken bones
- Computerized Tomography (CT Scans) – detailed cross-sectional images of the body)
- Fluoroscopy – real-time images that show movement (like a movie)
- Mammography – imaging of the breast tissue
- Interventional Radiology/Angiography – tests that examine the heart and blood vessels
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist: uses magnetism, radio waves and computers to acquire images. MRI scans are high quality scans, providing great detail of the structures being imaged.
Nuclear Medicine Technologist: Prepare radiopharmaceuticals, which are administered to the patient. A special camera is then used to produce images. These tests primarily show functionality of a body system/structure. Nuclear Medicine Technologists also work in PET CT, used for planning treatment for patients with certain diseases, especially cancer.
Radiation Therapist: Using focused beams of radiation, these technologists provide treatment to cancer patients. The radiation is focused to the tumor to destroy it, while minimizing harm to healthy tissues. They are also responsible for counseling patients on the possible side effects from radiation treatment.
Other duties of MRTs include, but are not limited to:
- Interpreting physician requests to ensure the appropriate exam is being performed
- Providing education to staff and patients on radiation and/or MRI safety
- Performing IV insertions (not all disciplines)
- Performing quality control testing on equipment
- Continuing education – the world for MRTs is ever evolving as technology advances
Each of the four disciplines have specific entrance requirements, as well as specific education timelines offered at different education facilities. Scan the QR code for each discipline to learn more.
Upon graduation, all MRTs are required to challenge the certification exam offered by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) in order to be eligible for employment.
There are currently openings for all disciplines throughout Manitoba in rural and urban settings (although not all disciplines are offered in all areas). The hours of work do vary:
- Radiologic Technologists – X-ray and CT scans are 24/7 in most hospitals (might not be the case in some rural settings). Hours of work are typically days/evening or days/nights, including weekends with some on call required. Mammography is days only (some positions require travelling to rural sites).
- MRI Technologists – only available at certain sites, mostly within Winnipeg or in the surrounding area. Hours of work are dependent on the site and may include evenings and/or weekends. Some on call is required.
- Nuclear Medicine Technologists – only available at certain sites, mostly within Winnipeg or in the surrounding area. Hours of work are typically Monday to Friday days with some on call required (depending on site).
- Radiation Therapist – Monday to Friday, some off-shift hours may be required. Only available in Winnipeg (Cancer Care Manitoba HSC) and Brandon (Western Manitoba Cancer Centre)