X-Ray Technician Career

As an important part of a hospital team, an x-ray technician helps a doctor diagnose patients by taking pictures of bones and organs. X-ray technician courses train students to photograph potential problems inside patients’ bodies so that a doctor can choose the best course of treatment. But x-ray technicians do more than take pictures. Here’s an example of many of the skills an x-ray technician would use with one particular patient.

The patient arrives.

Francis had been rushed to the hospital after falling down her basement stairs. She is complaining of severe pain in her left leg, and her attending physician suspects that it is broken. This is where Steve, the x-ray technician, comes in. Francis has been wheeled to the x-ray department, where Steve will get the request from the doctor about what kinds of x-rays are needed.

The x-ray technician takes x-rays and calms the patient.

Because Francis is elderly and in pain, Steve must maneuver her from the wheelchair to the x-ray table. Francis is frightened, so Steve talks to her about what he is going to do to calm her nerves. He figures out the best way to position Francis to keep her comfortable while still allowing him to take the clearest pictures of her leg. He covers her with a lead jacket, steps behind a wall, and puts on his own safety equipment. Because Steve takes many x-rays a day, it’s important for him to minimize his exposure to radiation as well as the patient’s exposure. He takes his first x-ray.

Steve must turn Francis on her side to x-ray the leg from another angle. Her leg hurts much more in this second position, so Steve tells her a funny story about his dog to distract her while he takes the next picture. For Steve, the hardest part of his job is keeping the patients calm and still while they are scared and in severe pain.

An x-ray technician’s job continues after the patient leaves.

After Francis is wheeled back to her room, Steve develops the film and delivers the x-rays to the doctor who will treat Francis. Although Steve can’t diagnose patients, he’s trained to spot potential emergency situations on x-rays so he can alert hospital staff that a patient needs immediate care. He sterilizes the equipment and table for the next patient.

Take x-ray technician courses at accredited career colleges.

An x-ray technician has to be trained before he can ever work with patients. X-ray technician courses at accredited career colleges teach students how to position patients, work with x-ray equipment, and develop film. A good x-ray technician program will also cover how to work with and comfort patients who have trouble moving or are in pain.

For example, the Ultimate Medical Academy in Florida offers all the necessary courses in anatomy, radiography, and patient care to prepare you for a career as an x-ray technician in as little as seven weeks.

Kaplan College goes one step further and also trains you in related practices, like performing laboratory tests and electrocardiograms.

There are many career colleges that offer x-ray technician courses to choose from. To see these and others, visit the x-ray technician colleges directory today.