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Radiation Therapist/Dosimetrist

Radiation therapists/dosimetrists work closely with medical physicists and radiation oncologists throughout New Brunswick. These qualified professionals provide radiation therapy services to treat patients with certain medical conditions, on the order of a physician. Using ionizing radiation, they can destroy diseased cells in the body, with dosimetrists specifically responsible for determining proper doses. This treatment is most commonly used to fight cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. It is a significant, crucial role in New Brunswick’s healthcare system.

A successful radiation therapist/dosimetrist has a broad combination of skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their position. Working with other professionals involved in radiation requires radiation therapists/dosimetrists to work well in a team environment, as well as independently. They must have excellent technical skills when using precise instruments to shrink tumors and other growths. Like most healthcare professionals, when working with the public they must be empathetic, approachable, and understanding of their patients’ needs. Lifting and moving patients is also a regular component of the job, so they must stay in good physical shape.

Personal characteristics and skills

  • Strong problem-solving
  • Excellent technical skills and interest in technology
  • Good judgment
  • Empathy and understanding of patient’s needs
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to adapt in difficult or stressful settings
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team environment

Radiation therapists/dosimetrists in New Brunswick have a variety of important roles, including but not limited to:

  • Applying proper radiation methods and techniques
  • Observing radiation safety measures for patients and personnel
  • Monitoring patients’ physical and psychological wellbeing
  • Providing ongoing patient/family education
  • Advising patients about side effects of radiation
  • Operating diagnostic equipment, linear accelerators, and other radiation therapy equipment to administer radiation treatment
  • Ensuring proper operation of radiation therapy equipment
  • Assisting in the preparation of sealed radioactive materials and the construction of devices to assist treatment
  • Providing guidance, training, and orientation to other radiation therapy staff, students, and other healthcare professionals

Radiation therapists/dosimetrists usually work weekdays, but may occasionally work on weekends. The vast majority will work in direct patient contact. Since physical fitness is a component of the job, they must follow safety precautions to avoid strain and repetitive stress injuries, as well as unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Radiation therapists work in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Cancer treatment centres
  • Medical equipment sales companies

To work in this field, completion of an accredited university or college educational program in Medical Radiation Technology (MRT) with specialization in Radiation Therapy, combined with supervised practical training is required. In New Brunswick, radiation therapists/dosimetrists must be certified and registered with the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists – New Brunswick Division and pass the national association’s exam.

Education programs offered in Eastern Canada: