What does a Radiation Therapist do?

Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.

Jobs Roles

  • Administer prescribed doses of radiation to specific body parts, using radiation therapy equipment according to established practices and standards.
  • Position patients for treatment with accuracy, according to prescription.
  • Enter data into computer and set controls to operate or adjust equipment or regulate dosage.
  • Follow principles of radiation protection for patient, self, and others.
  • Maintain records, reports, or files as required, including such information as radiation dosages, equipment settings, or patients' reactions.
  • Review prescription, diagnosis, patient chart, and identification.
  • Conduct most treatment sessions independently, in accordance with the long-term treatment plan and under the general direction of the patient's physician.
  • Check radiation therapy equipment to ensure proper operation.
  • Observe and reassure patients during treatment and report unusual reactions to physician or turn equipment off if unexpected adverse reactions occur.
  • Check for side effects, such as skin irritation, nausea, or hair loss to assess patients' reaction to treatment.
  • Educate, prepare, and reassure patients and their families by answering questions, providing physical assistance, and reinforcing physicians' advice regarding treatment reactions or post-treatment care.
  • Calculate actual treatment dosages delivered during each session.
  • Prepare or construct equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, or protection devices.
  • Photograph treated area of patient and process film.
  • Help physicians, radiation oncologists, or clinical physicists to prepare physical or technical aspects of radiation treatment plans, using information about patient condition and anatomy.
  • Train or supervise student or subordinate radiotherapy technologists.
  • Act as liaison with physicist and supportive care personnel.
  • Provide assistance to other healthcare personnel during dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • Implement appropriate follow-up care plans.
  • Store, sterilize, or prepare the special applicators containing the radioactive substance implanted by the physician.
  • Assist in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials, such as cobalt, radium, cesium, or isotopes, for use in radiation treatments.
  • Schedule patients for treatment times.
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