The quality performance of radiology examinations and procedures, along with accurate and timely interpretation of radiology procedure results, is accomplished by a team of various health care professionals. The radiology team includes doctors, technologists, and nurses.
Doctors. The radiology team is led by one or more radiologists, who are doctors specializing in the field of radiology. Radiologists are responsible for interpreting the results of examinations, performing certain procedures, such as interventional radiology procedures or therapeutic procedures, conferring and consulting with other doctors in other specialties, and ensuring the overall quality performance of the entire radiology team.
Technologists. Radiology technologists are responsible for performing many of the various types of radiology examinations, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, mammograms, and ultrasound procedures. Technologists receive formal training in various types of educational programs, lasting from one to four years. In addition to training in the various radiology modalities, radiology technology students also study human anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and other pertinent subjects.
Once a radiology technology student completes training in an approved training program, he or she may undergo additional study or training in order to specialize in a particular modality, such as CT scans or MRIs.
Radiology technologists are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
Nurses. Nurses often assist with more complex radiology procedures, such as interventional procedures requiring sedation of the patient, or procedures requiring intravenous (IV) administration of medications, contrast, and/or nuclear substances. Nurses may be responsible for assessing and documenting patient status, conferring with the radiologist for specific patient care needs, and providing educational information to patients related to their radiology procedure.
Medical physicists. Medical physicists participate in ensuring the accurate delivery of diagnostic or therapeutic radiation therapy. They work together with the radiology team in treatment planning, establishing protocols for radiation procedures, ensuring safe and accurate measurement of radiation doses, as well as monitoring the performance of radiological equipment. Their role also encompasses areas of research and development of new technologies. A qualified medical physicist may have a master's or doctorate degree with one to two years of clinical physics experience. Medical physicists are certified by the American Board of Radiology or the American Board of Medical Physics.
Dosimetrists. Dosimetrists collaborate with radiation oncologists and medical physicists in calculating the precise radiation dose that is ordered. Dosimetrists may be certified by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board.