|Who’s Who In Radiology -|
A radiologist is a specialist doctor who has undergone a further 3-4 years of training in radiology after having qualified as a doctor. Their comprehensive training includes various aspects of radiology, including interpretation of x-ray images, performance of imaging procedures and radiation protection. They are required to pass tough postgraduate examinations at the end of their course and training. They are required to undergo a further 6 months probationary period before being gazetted in this country as a radiologist. These are the people often referred to as x-ray specialists.
They interpret X-rays, ultrasound, CT, MRI scans and other special radiological examinations. They also do interventional procedures. They are responsible for supervising all the radiological procedures in the department. Radiologists act as a consultant in the care of patients.
A radiotherapist is also called a radiation oncologist. They are medical specialists who have undergone at least 4 years of postgraduate training and experience in radiotherapy and oncology. They specialise in evaluation, treatment and management of cancer patients. At the end of their training period, they are required to pass postgraduate examinations. The radiotherapist is an important member of the team that is responsible for treating cancer patients and is also the patient’s doctor to treat and cure disease. They prescribe treatment which uses high energy radiation, radioactive drugs and anti cancer drugs.
At the present moment there are no postgraduate training programmes in radiotherapy and oncology available in the local institutions in Malaysia (although it is probably in the offing in the near future) and training is done mainly in United Kingdom.
A medical physicist is a specialist in the application of physics to medical diagnosis and therapy. Medical physicists assist in the specification and selection of imaging or therapy equipment purely from the cost and technical viewpoints. They are also responsible for development and supervision of quality assurance programmes for both procedures as well as equipment in the radiology department. In radiotherapy, medical physicists help plan and review radiation treatment of cancer patients. Another important responsibility of medical physicists is that of radiation safety programmes e.g. monitoring patient and staff radiation doses, safety guidelines for handling of radioactive materials etc. They are also involved in the training of medical students, radiographers and trainee radiologists with regard to physics and safety.
In Malaysia, medical physicists have either a Masters Degree or Ph. D. in Medical Physics. A Masters Programme in Medical Physics is available locally. It is a 1 year programme. The course content involves exposure to a broad range of different diagnostic and treatment modalities in the hospital setting.
A radiographer is a trained technologist who is competent in performing Radiography (i.e. taking the x-ray pictures, operating sophisticated X-ray equipment, radiation protection, etc.) They run the X-ray equipment and work directly with the patient and radiologist. They are usually the persons the patient will meet first when they enter a radiological examination room. They are an essential part of the medical team as an assistant to the radiologist. The radiographer is trained to ensure that the images are of optimal quality by adjusting the equipments and patient position. The radiographer may also be involved in preparing the “dye” to be given to the patients for special radiological examinations. Radiographers operate the general radiography equipment and also the CT and MRI scanners. They also operate and are responsible for the X-rays done in the wards, operating theatres and casualty departments using portable X-ray machines.
In Malaysia, to qualify to the radiography-training programme, one needs at least the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). Training is for a period of threes years which comprises training in theory, practical and clinical aspects in a hospital equipped with modern X-ray equipment before sitting for final examinations.
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Thursday, 21 August, 2003