The main purpose of a radiologist is to diagnose diseases through the use of x-rays. Depending on the setting, this may be expanded to include other tests with radioactive substances, not just x-rays. Radiologists usually work in conjunction with doctors and make diagnosis based on the results of multiple tests.
Before the x-rays are taken, radiologists prepare patients for their exposure to radiation by covering their bodies with lead shields, usually in the form of vests or sheets. They also explain procedures, make sure that patients are ready (checking, for example, that all metal objects have been removed) and position the machines correctly to ensure that the minimum number of x-rays are needed. Once the x-rays have been taken, radiologists then develop the film and analyze the results.
Radiologists are sometimes involved in the treatment of certain conditions, such as growths (especially external, although internal tumors are sometimes also treated). When directed by a doctor, some patients receive direct radiation as treatment. Others have radioisotopes implanted, which then need to be monitored and cared for by radiologists. Many radiologists who offer this type of treatment hold an additional certification in nuclear medicine.
Most radiologists perform a series of additional diagnostic tests besides x-rays. These include ultrasounds, MRIs, CT scans, barium studies and angiography. Many work alongside radiographers, nurses and doctors to prepare and diagnose patients with a variety of symptoms.
Aside from the medical side of the job, radiologists are also expected to take on certain administrative responsibilities, such as handling patient records, dealing with complaints, ensuring the meeting of medical policies, completing documentation, patient reviews and staff-to-staff communication, which may include teaching or management duties.
Radiologists, also known as radiologic technicians, are medical professionals who use x-rays and other forms of radiation technology to diagnose and treat illnesses of the human body. Because they work in direct connection with doctors and other medical professionals, they may also be required, as part of their job description, to take over clerical and administrative duties.