One patient needs help processing their recent cancer diagnosis and what happens next. One patient wants advice about which treatment gives them the best chance of recovery. One patient needs help coping with the side-effects of their treatment.
As a therapeutic radiographer, you could help them all.
What does a therapeutic radiographer do?
A therapeutic radiographer treats and cares for people with cancer, offering support while using highly advanced technology to target and destroy cancer cells with radiation.
The role includes looking after patients, their families and carers during radiotherapy – answering questions, prescribing treatment for any side-effects, and offering emotional support and a friendly presence.
The treatment itself involves scanning patients, planning dosages with the help of complex software, and using highly advanced equipment to deliver the treatment. It’s a therapeutic radiographer’s job to make sure the right amount of radiation hits the target area (usually a tumour) – and as little as possible hits the patient’s healthy cells.
What’s the work like?
- Most therapeutic radiographers work in the NHS.
- You’ll be based in a hospital, working with the oncology team and support services.
- As you continue your career in therapeutic radiography, you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in areas that interest you. That could mean developing your clinical skills, practising at an advanced level in new roles, working with specific technologies, getting involved with research, leadership, management or education.
- You’ll develop strong communication skills; caring for patients is at the heart of being a therapeutic radiographer.
What makes a good therapeutic radiographer?
- Caring. Wanting to help people – to cure their cancer, relieve pain and other symptoms, and offer support during a life-changing journey – is the most important quality you need to study and work as a therapeutic radiographer.
- Interest in science subjects. If you understand and enjoy maths, physics and biology, you’ll have a head start on the course.
- Keen mind. Therapeutic radiography is a technical role that involves working with complex software, advanced technology and high energy radiation. It’ll keep your brain engaged and working throughout the day.
- Team player. Therapeutic radiographers work closely with the oncology team and other health professionals. Communication skills are important, and so is an understanding of how all the roles work together to help patients.