Radiologists are some of the most sought-after medical professionals nowadays, and also enjoy higher-than-average salaries than many of their peers in the health care industry. This position of radiologists, of course, also comes with rigorous training and many hours of practice and learning under mentors.
Radiologists also have to be ready for a variety of work-related duties and responsibilities directly or indirectly dealing with the patients they work with.
What Exactly Do Radiologists Do?
A radiologist’s main responsibility is the diagnosis of illnesses through a range of imaging technologies used by health care professionals today.
In large hospitals and facilities, the radiology technician is usually tasked with the actual preparation of the patient and the carrying out of the examination, while the radiologist analyzes the results and discusses them with the patient.
However, in smaller clinics, the radiologist would also be responsible for the entire procedure from start to finish.
Operating Imaging Equipment
Radiologists are trained to operate the imaging machinery and equipment to ensure that an accurate portrait of the body area to be examined will be achieved. Examinations they may be tasked to master include ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, barium studies and angiography.
This is very important in the diagnostic procedure; if the examination is improperly carried out, certain details may be missed which could lead to inaccurate diagnosis and treatment. Radiologists also have to learn to correctly position the patients, explain the procedures to be performed, and make special arrangements or adjustments as necessary for patients with specific conditions (i.e. limited mobility, pacemakers).
Analyzing Test Results
In the analysis of the test results, radiologists often confer with other doctors or physicians, especially those who specialize in the disease or condition diagnosed in the patient. Many times, the doctor or specialist who ordered the test will be the one to discuss the results with the patient, but the analysis will most likely still be discussed with the radiologist, so he or she must have a thorough and working knowledge in this area.
Treating Medical Conditions
Advanced medical research and technology are making it possible for radiation to be used more and more for treatments of diseases and medical conditions, and there are radiologists who now train and specialize in interventional radiology. This involves using radiation technology to treat growths, tumors, and other conditions, as well as the maintenance of radioisotopes, and other procedures related to nuclear medicine.
Many radiologists are not tied to examination duties all the time. They may also be tasked to handle administrative responsibilities, including patient records, customer service, patient reviews, etc. Many radiologists are even given mentorship or teaching duties, whether it is in-hospital or at local teaching facilities.
The Day-to-Day Work
When it comes to work hours and schedules, radiologists enjoy some of the most flexible among medical professionals. Many are able to work from home part of the time if they work at a hospital with an advanced Web-based network.
Radiologists are not usually expected to be on-call throughout the day, rather, they have set schedules and more vacation time than their peers (on average, 8-12 weeks yearly).