Imaging (ionising)

Imaging with ionising radiation is an area of healthcare science that includes diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology and nuclear medicine.

As a clinical scientist or technologist working in this area, you’ll support clinical staff and advise them on how to produce optimum quality images whilst restricting radiation dose.  Your role also includes periodic quality assurance and safety testing of the imaging systems, providing safety advice for a technique or individual patient, teaching and training, the development of image analysis software and more general research and development activities. 

All clinical scientists and technologists working with ionising radiation have a role to play in ensuring all uses of x-rays and radioactive materials comply with the applicable legislation.

"One of the best bits about my job is working with and helping patients. The day I got signed off to administer my first therapy without supervision is still one of the proudest moments of my career."

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You will typically be based within either a radiology, nuclear medicine or medical physics department of a hospital.

Ionising radiation can be used to obtain anatomical and functional information at a lower risk than alternative methods.  This information allows doctors to better manage patient care.

Clinical scientists working with ionising radiation may also act as medical physics experts, radiation protection advisers and radioactive waste advisers which are all official roles defined within the legislation surrounding the use of ionising radiation in healthcare.

Imaging using ionising radiation can increase the lifetime risk of cancer for patients and operators.  However, the radiation used in healthcare is closely controlled thanks in part to the contribution of clinical scientists and technologists and so whilst working with ionising radiation, exposures to all staff are regulated, continuously measured and kept at a safe level.

Working life

If you work in imaging using ionising radiation, you’ll use a range of imaging techniques, including:

Nuclear medicine staff are also involved in non-imaging applications, such as measuring the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) and red cell mass.  They have an important role to play in patient therapies, such as the administration of radioiodine as a treatment of hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis.

Who will I work with?

You will be part of a team that includes radiologists, cardiologists, diagnostic radiographers, clinical technologists, nurses, assistant practitioners and support staff.

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