The Radiology Medical Physicist is an integral member of the multi-professional team responsible for the safety, effective and efficient delivery of radiological services for diagnosis and treatment.
The medical physicist plays an important role in the quality assurance of equipment and ensuring optimum image quality. An example is in the development and implementation of the high standards required for effective mammography screening.
For applications involving ionising radiation, the medical physicist is crucial in ensuring that the dose to the patient is the minimum possible while achieving images of diagnostic quality. The recent government concern about radiation dose to children as a result of CT examination has been informed by the work of medical physicist.
Diagnostic Radiology Modalities
The medical physicist may be involved with physics applications associated with the following areas:
• General X-ray (radiography) equipment, including dental units
• Digital and computed radiography applications
• Computed Tomography (CT)
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Radiology Medical Physicist
The tasks of a radiology medical physicist can include:
• Patient and staff dosimetry
• Dose estimates in the case of accidental exposure to ionising radiation
• Foetal dose estimates and advice regarding exposure during pregnancy
• Advice to pregnant staff members
• Acceptance testing of equipment
• Commissioning of equipment
• Equipment quality assurance programs
• Radiation safety
• Shielding calculations and assessments
• Compliance with radiation regulatory requirements
• Tutoring of radiology registrars
• Review of research applications involving exposure of volunteers to ionising radiation
• Radiation safety courses / talks / training
Most radiology medical physicists have a university degree in physics (typically four years, including honours). Medical physicists will continue with postgraduate education and a Masters in medical physics or a PhD. To start working clinically and gain experience, these postgraduate qualifications are often undertaken part-time. After 4-5 years of clinical experience, application can be made to ACPSEM for accreditation as a Radiology Medical Physicist.
What to learn more? Follow the link to view a typical day in the life of a Radiology Medical Physicist.
Katrina Biggerstaff "Electron Gun". Category: Get up close and personal with Medical Physics.