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Radiological technologists

Radiological (or x-ray) technologists make up about 80% of the 10,000 members represented by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT).

At a physician’s request, the radiological technologist produces images of a body part or system using equipment that emits x-rays. The radiologist — a doctor who specializes in interpreting x-rays — studies the images and dispenses advice that helps the treating physician make a diagnosis and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment for the patient.

The radiological technologist profession encompasses a broad variety of procedures and covers a number of specialties, including:

  • Plain film radiological technology, i.e., x-rays of the chest, bones, joints, spine
  • Mammography to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages
  • Angiography to examine the heart, blood vessels and blood flow
  • Fluoroscopy: Real-time images that show how the systems in the body function, for example, the gastrointestinal or urinary systems of a patient
  • Computerized tomography (CT scans), i.e., detailed cross-sectional images of the body

Technologists are responsible for the quality of the x-ray images and for providing the correct view of specific body structures or systems, whether on film, a computer monitor, or a television screen.

Some procedures require that barium and/or a dye called contrast medium be given to patients to highlight organs and structures that would not otherwise be seen.

As part of their professional duty, radiological technologists:

  • EXPLAIN the procedure to patients
  • ANSWER questions as fully as possible
  • CONTRIBUTE to patient education
  • COMFORT patients and provide emotional support
  • POSITION patients and equipment correctly
  • ADMINISTER radiation
  • PROTECT patients, staff and visitors from radiation
  • MONITOR patients during the procedure
  • ASSIST the radiologist for angiograms and interventional procedures
  • OPERATE the equipment safely and accurately