This section describes the concepts of the profession and uses terminology that you must understand. The laws, regulations and policies regarding MRT are different in each Canadian province or territory. The concepts, however, are similar. These concepts will help you to understand the responsibilities and daily work experiences of an MRT in Canada.Are you confident working independently as a primary care provider?
Often, a medical radiation technologist (MRT) may work independently, or without the assistance of other technologists, during a procedure. You must be able to recognize the condition of the patient, care for the patient, modify the procedures, and make decisions about the quality of the image you have produced. You must be able to evaluate the image to decide if a second image is required. You will decide what must be done to ensure the images provide information for an accurate diagnosis. This requires good communication skills with the patients, to gain their cooperation.
It is important that medical radiation technologists be self directed learners. This means you must consider your own knowledge and skills, and identify areas where you need more knowledge to practise safely and effectively. You will discuss your work with colleagues, equipment vendors and any other stakeholders associated with the practice of medical radiation technology. You must evaluate your practice to decide if further learning is required.
Medical radiation technology provides patients with diagnostic imaging and therapy treatment services. The role of the MRT is to:
Medical radiation technology is regulated provincially. There are differences in the scope of practice between provinces across the country. It is important to review the scope of practice in the province/territory where you intend to work.
Patient-centered care is the foundation of the medical radiation technologist’s practice. The MRT performs all procedures and treatments using current safety standards, and manages any risk to the patient. The MRT respects the patient’s right to privacy, confidentiality, and informed decision making for diagnostic and treatment services. The MRT works for the patient and respects the patient’s right to refuse or withdraw from treatment.
As an evidence-based practitioner, the MRT must make decisions that combine individual clinical practice and patient information with the best available clinical evidence from research findings. MRTs use evidence-based practice to ensure the highest standards for effective, efficient diagnosis and treatment.
As a medical radiation technologist, it is important to use self reflection to judge your own competency for safe and effective practice in this rapidly changing technological healthcare environment.
The workload, in a hospital facility or clinic, is often very busy with a long wait list of patients. It is important that you manage the workload and prioritize, or decide the order in which the tasks must be completed, based on the patient condition and quality care concerns. It is important that you balance professional and family responsibilities and leisure time, as well.
Usually, a medical radiation technologist is not responsible for obtaining consent for diagnostic tests. Other health care providers do this. However, you may need to ask for patient consent to perform some procedures such as the injection of contrast media. Health care facilities will have established rules or procedures to follow. When consent is required from individuals, the MRT must give a clear description of the risks and benefits. MRTs should always ask permission to touch the patient during the procedures. MRTs must understand that the patient can refuse diagnostic tests and treatment. The patient may refuse to continue treatment at any time.
Medical radiation technologists learn personal information about the patient and their families. The MRT must keep this information secure and private, as well as any information in the patient’s record. Information should only be shared as part of standard therapeutic information sharing with the healthcare team in appropriate environments, or where required by law. Information cannot be shared with family and friends.
It is important to know the privacy legislation within your province/territory. It is also important to understand the regulation set by the regulatory body in the province/territory where you are working.
Medical radiation technologists can practise in a variety of settings. Practice can be in a clinic setting or in a hospital facility. In a hospital facility, the MRTs may work in general practice in a diagnostic imaging department or in the operating room.
They may do mobile radiography by the patient’s bedside and in the emergency department. Many radiological technologists in Canada also do CT scanning and mammography.
Medical radiation technologists work with patients of different ages and of different cultural, religious, social and economic backgrounds. Patients may have different political and personal values. It is important to respect the diversity of the patients and treat all in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner. Patients can be healthy and able to move well. Patients can also be injured due to trauma and/or very sick and compromised. They must be treated with respect, in a caring manner that maintains their dignity and privacy.
Medical radiation technologists have a very important role in patient care.
As healthcare professionals, they provide accurate diagnostic testing and radiation treatment. They also provide information to other health care colleagues. This makes a significant contribution to the ongoing care and treatment of the patient. You must have current knowledge and skills to practise medical radiation technology. The safe and effective delivery of health care services to your patients and your community is your responsibility.
In addition to their clinical practice, many medical radiation technologists in Canada help to build their profession. They teach and mentor students, develop policy, participate on committees both at a national and provincial/territorial level and participate in research. They speak at public meetings and participate in career days at schools and colleges. You may be expected to contribute to your profession in this way.
This Health Canada website offers much information about healthcare in Canada:
Health Canada - Health Care System (www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/index-eng.php)