Medical radiation practitioner is a protected title under the Australian Health Professions Regulation Authority (AHPRA). It is a broad title which includes a number of disciplines:
- medical radiation practitioner
- diagnostic radiographer
- medical imaging technologist
- nuclear medicine scientist
- nuclear medicine technologist
- radiation therapist.
A Radiographer/Diagnostic Radiographer/Medical Imaging Technologist is responsible for producing high quality medical images that assist medical doctors and other practitioners to describe, diagnose, monitor and treat a patient’s injury or illness. As part of a diagnostic health team, radiographers are highly skilled individuals who operate extremely advanced technical equipment such as MRI scanners (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography) and mobile X-ray machinery. Radiography uses both ionising and non-ionising radiation in the imaging process.
Where do medical radiation practitioners practise?
Medical radiation practitioners work in public hospitals, many private hospitals and private radiology practices and may be large or small, metropolitan or rural.
When should I see a medical radiation practitioner?
There are a wide range of reasons to see a medical radiation practitioner, but some typical reasons include scans undertaken during pregnancy or as part of a medical investigation, scans to diagnose and detect physiological and metabolic changes within the body, imaging of trauma to bones, and lifesaving radiation therapy for cancers.
What services do medical radiation practitioners provide?
Nuclear medicine scientists/nuclear medicine technologists are medical imaging experts who use radioactive materials to diagnose physiological and metabolic changes within the body and treat diseases.
Radiation therapists design, plan and administer radiation treatment to cancer patients, and provide related care to patients in conjunction with radiation oncologists or other medical specialists.
Medical radiation practice is a pivotal component of a patient’s diagnosis and treatment. The equipment used by all disciplines is at the cutting edge of technology and computerisation within medicine
How are medical radiation practitioners qualified?
In order to practise in Australia, a medical radiation practitioner must complete the following:
- A degree in medical radiation science, accredited by AHPRA
- Completion of a period of structured supervision in an approved hospital radiology department or private radiology clinic
- Continuing professional development to meet the regulator’s requirements
For more detailed information about medical radiation practitioners please visit the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation website www.asmirt.org.