LET YOUR X-RAY WORKING WORLD KNOW WHO YOU ARE
Radiographers, also known by many other titles such as radiologic technologists, diagnostic radiographers and medical radiation technologists, are medical and healthcare professionals who specialize in the imaging of human anatomy for the diagnosis and treatment of pathology. The word pathology itself may be used broadly to refer to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of “general pathology,” an area which includes a number of distinct but interrelated medical specialities that the diagnosis of disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, bone and x-ray samples. For this particular article, we are referring to the x-ray component of pathology and the work (and the style of the technologist) that the technologist does.
Radiographers are frequently known as x-ray technicians. In countries that use the title radiologic technologist they are often informally referred to as techs in the clinical environment; this phrase has emerged in popular culture, yet belies the intensive training and schooling that radiographers must complete before they can ever x-ray a real, living (or dead) human being on their own. Radiographers work in both public and private healthcare settings and can be physically located in any setting where appropriate diagnostic equipment is located, most frequently in hospitals or medical clinics. Their practice varies country to country and can even vary between hospitals in the same country.
In the United States, these professionals are known as Radiologic Technologists. Formal training programs in radiography range in length that leads to a certificate, an associate or a bachelor’s degree. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT), the primary credentialing organization for Radiologic Technologists in the United States, requires that candidates for ARRT Certification Exams must have an associate degree at minimum as of January, 2015, effectively ending non-degree granting diploma programs. This was an important step in recognizing that an x-ray technician is indeed a medical professional and is not the equivalent of a nurse’s aide, a phlebotomist, or any other health care worker that has not had to undergo several years of intensive training to become that worker. Accreditation is primarily through The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), the only agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to grant accreditation to both traditional and online programs in Radiography, Radiation Therapy, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Medical Dosimetry. An online page where prospective students can check the accreditation of programs is maintained by JRCERT. When you have made the decision to obtain your degree and accreditation in the radiologic technological field, you will want to buy your own custom x-ray markers to show off your work, mark it professionally, and be able to identify it at a glance.
Radiologic Technology students study anatomy, physiology, physics, radiopharmacology, pathology, biology, research, nursing, medical imaging, diagnosis, radiologic instrumentation, emergency medical procedures, medical imaging techniques, patient care, medical ethics and general chemistry. Schooling also includes significant amounts of documented practicum supervised by Registered Technologists in various clinical settings where the classroom theory is translated to practical knowledge and real world experience. The change from Film to Digital imaging has changed training as film quality assurance and quality control is largely obsolete. The role of computer workstations to produce synthetic images for Radiologists has steadily increased the need for computer skills as has electronic medical record software.
After primary schooling and initial training and licensure, continuing education is required to maintain licensure and certification with the ARRT, who sets the accepted national guidelines. The ARRT requires 24 Units of accredited continuing education every two years and the laws and the regulations of most states accept this standard. Continuing formal education or the passing of an advanced practice speciality exam may also be accepted for continuing education credit.
A new and evolving career for Radiologic Technologists is that of the Registered Radiologist Assistant (R.R.A.) who is an experienced Technologist- not a Physician Assistant- who has completed additional education, training and has passed exams to function as a radiologist extender. A list of the 9 currently accredited R.R.A. programs is maintained by the ARRT and can be accessed online. Candidates for the R.R.A. certification must possess a Bachelor of Science Degree at minimum. Registered Radiologist Assistant (R.R.A.), is a new and advanced practice Radiographer career path in the United States for experienced Technologists. R.R.A.s do not interpret films/images/studies in the manner of the Reporting Radiographer. The role has been accepted by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
If you work in the field of Radiography and perform x-rays in clinical, observational, and trauma settings, having your own personalized custom x-ray markers makes the difference. Whether your style is classic, cool, edgy, or fun, there are many variations to choose from. Of course, you know that custom x-ray markers are vital to the diagnostician. However, you may not have considered the legal aspect of custom x-ray markers if your facility is ever sued. Did you know that for an image to be regarded as a legal document, radiation must go through your marker so that the marker is visible and readable on the image? You should also be aware that this requirement has not changed with the advent of digital radiography. Has it been some time since you’ve updated your custom x-ray markers? If so, you might be surprised at how markers have evolved in recent years and how many different varieties are now available. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Classic Markers – While these left/right markers are an industry standard, they have “come of age” in the way they have become a way for you, the individual radiological technician, to completely mark and identify your work as your very own. You can order these markers with the classic L and R, then add your very own initials to identify that it is your work. Also, you can customize these in many ways to further identify them as yours.
- Clip Markers – These particular markers are used when attaching a marker to a cassette for portable imaging. Again, you can customize your very own clip markers to identify your work.
- Wafer Thin Markers – These markers have easy bucky clearance and are perfect for use with newer digital equipment.
- Copper Backing – Copper filtered x-ray markers are used with higher KV settings. These can also be customized to show that these films are your work.
Custom x-ray markers are essential to every radiation technologist. These markers serve as small visual indicators of very important and vital patient information. These markers help guide the other medical professionals that refer to them to the important parts of an x-ray and prevent errors from occuring. They are the very workhorses of your trade. Mark your work with the flair your work deserves with sets of custom x-ray markers.