Diagnostic Radiographers are the closest thing to mutants with x-ray vision. Fact. Diagnostic Radiographers use hi-tech equipment such as x-rays and ultrasound machines to produce images of the inside of a patient’s body. These images are then used to determine their medical condition and what treatment or intervention procedure is needed.
When we think about x-rays, immediately we think about broken bones. But Diagnostic Radiographers help treat a much wider range of conditions and injuries, even using techniques such as nuclear medicine and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). You’ll catch them doing these extravagant techniques in hospitals mainly, but also in GP surgeries and clinics as well. Either way, you’ll usually have the following job responsibilities:
- Understanding the patient’s medical condition and working out the best radiographic treatment
- Using the different types of radiography equipment to produce images of the effected areas of the body
- Liaising with other medical staff to assist in more complex examinations
- Supporting patients and reassuring them, taking into consideration their personal needs
- Interpreting results of examinations and keeping accurate records for each patient
- Regularly inspecting equipment for malfunctions and errors
- Keeping up-to-date with the latest health and safety procedures, particularly radiation regulations
Key Skills & Characteristics
A Diagnostic Radiographer should:
- Have excellent communication skills being able to explain complex information to all levels of understanding
- Possess strong interpersonal skills, whilst having a caring nature
- Be supportive and able to put people at ease quite comfortably
- Have good observation, analytical and judgmental skills
- Show good organisational and planning skills being able to coordinate and prioritise patient workload effectively
The steps are pretty simple to become a Diagnostic Radiographer. You need to be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) before anything. Now how do you do that you say? Well, just complete a degree that is HCPC approved. Simple. This degree is most likely going to be a BSc in Diagnostic Radiography and it will involve a mixture of theory and practical in an actual clinical setting.
But before you decide to do the degree, we would recommend anyone to do some work experience or shadowing a real-life Diagnostic Radiographer. This is because the degree is very specific. If you end up not liking it by the time you’ve graduated, you could find it hard using your degree as a bargaining chip for another role. Not a lot of roles out there relate to the Diagnostic Radiography degree I’m afraid.
If you have made the right choice and you're still crazy about radiography, you may want to get a membership with the Society of Radiographers. Just to boost your street cred.
Diagnostic Radiographer Consultant
Advice From Our Experts
- Rewarding – It’s great making a real difference to someone’s life
- New People – Although for a brief time, you do meet a lot of new people
- Variety – Every case is different which makes it always interesting
- Long Hours – Expect to be working long shifts
- Emotionally Stressful – Listening to what some patients are going through can be emotional
- Patient Time – We have very little time to build a relationship with patients, which can be difficult to gain trust and also makes it less interesting