Diagnostic or Therapeutic Radiography future proof prospects

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Xivv
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Hi guys.
Im struggling as to choose between this two proffessions. Im leaning more towards Radiotherapy, but there is one thing that causes me to doubt my choice.

Radiotherapy treats cancer, and basically that is it. So what happens when someone finally finds more effective or definite cure for cancer, even just for some types of it, I will most likely be jobless. But when it comes to diagnostic there is no such fear for the future, as even if someone creates more effective way to diagnose diseases you will most likely get some extra training and that is it.

So basically radiotherapy is better for me, but diagnostic radiography is a safer field to study.

Guys help me decide. What do you think.

Cheers in advance
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uksurfernet
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(Original post by Xivv)
Hi guys.
Im struggling as to choose between this two proffessions. Im leaning more towards Radiotherapy, but there is one thing that causes me to doubt my choice.

Radiotherapy treats cancer, and basically that is it. So what happens when someone finally finds more effective or definite cure for cancer, even just for some types of it, I will most likely be jobless. But when it comes to diagnostic there is no such fear for the future, as even if someone creates more effective way to diagnose diseases you will most likely get some extra training and that is it.

So basically radiotherapy is better for me, but diagnostic radiography is a safer field to study.

Guys help me decide. What do you think.

Cheers in advance
Hi I have just finished my first year in radiotherapy and you are very right to have a concern for that. But like my lecturers say it is very unlikely the cure will just spring out at once cancer is a genetic mutation and there is not one cure. Hundreds of different cancer exist and the cure can not just be one so in that respect the job is pretty safe.

More of a concern would be the advancement in technology meaning robots could potentially take over the job which is the same with diagnostic imaging.

But here are my pros and cons summed up for each:

Diagnostic PROS:
1. Lots of jobs available
2. Not as difficult as radiotherapy
3. No risk of cure of cancer

Diagnostic CONS:
1. You can only do plain x ray with the degree which is what you will study in first year and for the second and third years you will study other imaging modalities such as ultrasound, MRI and nuclear medicine but need a masters to work these jobs. Making it feel like a waste of time and you wont be able yo do much on your placements in those departments.
2. Very repetitive which to be fair so is radiotherapy at times but diagnostic is a lot simpler as its one image taken very quickly and can at times just feel like your pushing a button.
3. You wont always have normal working hours you may be needed on night shifts and at the A&E on weekends

Radiotherapy PROS:
1. Very interesting and so much more to learn and do
2. Variety of departments you can work for with the degree such as physics planning, pre treatment, treatment set and other onoclogy
3. You carry on developing your skills through all 3 years which you continually use on your placement
4. Its the one you enjoy!

Radiotherapy CONS:
1. The biggest one is NOT ENOUGH JOBS although atm there is a shortage of student applying the job market is soooo competitive because not everywhere has an oncolgy centre especially not in small cities.
2. Seen as not as significant to diagnostic because there are more diagnostic students then radiotherapy
3. Quite niche sector although you can rotate and do lots of different things in the department it is still always in the oncolgy centre

So there ya go thats my point of view as I was struggling with making the same decision and im honestly so glad I chose radiotherapy. It does bother me about the jobs but I want to do further study anyway as a masters so I dont feel as if its that big of a problem as it can open doors to so many other career paths. Do think hard about it if your willing to out in the work for radiotherapy go for it but if you feel regret and confused dont rush into anything.
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Mjr_issues
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(Original post by uksurfernet)
Diagnostic PROS:
2. Not as difficult as radiotherapy

Diagnostic CONS:
1. You can only do plain x ray with the degree which is what you will study in first year and for the second and third years you will study other imaging modalities such as ultrasound, MRI and nuclear medicine but need a masters to work these jobs. Making it feel like a waste of time and you wont be able yo do much on your placements in those departments.
2. Very repetitive which to be fair so is radiotherapy at times but diagnostic is a lot simpler as its one image taken very quickly and can at times just feel like your pushing a button.
3. You wont always have normal working hours you may be needed on night shifts and at the A&E on weekends

Radiotherapy PROS:
1. Very interesting and so much more to learn and do
3. You carry on developing your skills through all 3 years which you continually use on your placement
HCPC registered radiographer here. You might want to talk to your diagnostic colleagues more, since you are largely incorrect. I won't get catty, though I could very easily simplify and poke jabs at radiotherapy if I so felt like it.

1) Difficulty is subjective. In terms of oncology knowledge, yes, a therapeutic radiographer will have vastly more than me. The level of physics education is similar between the two, with slightly more dosimetry on radiotherapy's part, but a lot more knowledge on other modalities coming in my edge. However, if we take my in depth of knowledge of the indications for referrals, appropriate modality choice for said indications, likely treatment or pathway, a comprehensive basic image interpretation standard, a thorough working knowledge of the H&SAWA, IRR 2017, IR(ME)R 2017 (and it's 2018 amendment) and such, and how it refers to all aspects of healthcare, rather than just limiting to treatment, I end up with a knowledge base of equal size, but different specialisation. Yes, my areas of interest are different, but they are by no means easier.

2) A newly qualified diagnostic radiographer is expected to be capable of performing any plain film image in a range of different environments on patients of different conditions, while being expected to be proficient in basic dental x-ray, common fluoroscopic procedures (HSG, barium swallows + meals and such) and theatre work. Furthermore, they are expected to be able to perform basic CT scans while under supervision, and if a student has got to their third year without performing a full range of non-specialist CT scans (TAPs, heads, CTPAs and so on) then they haven't been proactive enough. I mean yes, a student isn't going to be performing nuc med exams, but to say that there is limited opportunity for students is incorrect. I would suggest that you refrain from commenting on areas you have likely got very limited experience in. I can tell you that the only "waste of time" is if you are not paying attention in the specialist modalities you are placed in.

In regards to basic familiarity, any diagnostic radiographer is also expected to be able to assist in any department they are put in, as per the HCPC standards of proficiency.

Modalities that are usually performed with on the job training include: QA, CT, MRI, interventional, cath lab, dentals, DEXA (lol) and mammo. It is possible to have university grade training, but is not required to practise in those fields, though it does help. Advanced level practitioners will of course undertake further formal education (mammo biopsies, CT colons and cardiacs, that kinda thing), but your basic rotational radiographer won't need it.

Ultrasound and reporting radiography always require significant training commitments, as do things like radiation protection, for obvious reasons.

3) Diagnostic is by no means simpler than radiotherapy. There is a lot of professional decision making in the process of justifying a referral, deciding the appropriate views, performing or delegating the procedure, reviewing the images, and deciding whether to refer onwards to A&E, have it reported urgently, or to refer the patient to their GP for routine followup. The vast majority of the patients who are referred by their GP to outpatient x-ray are going to have their images reviewed by a radiographer, who then makes the call as to what happens next. On a regular day in outpatients, I make decisions as to whether people need to go to the emergency department, or whether to discharge them home with urgent followup as there is no point referring onwards to the ED.

It is also our job to second guess the referrer and to inform them if alternative imaging modalities are more appropriate, or if the indications provided flat out do not meet the standards of care. If you are debating with a registrar or consultant, you need to (to put it politely) know your ****.

Also you might want to check up more on the whole "one image taken very quickly". Sure I can take just one image for some things, but for a majority of procedures I will be taking multiple images, often with significant degrees of deviation from the standard technique, due to patient conditions. Yes, a GP chest x-ray can be done in 30 seconds, but a full skeletal survey on someone with advanced dementia can require a lot of thinking, as can the severely injured patient in a major trauma.

4) Yep, we do out of hours. Whether it is a pro or con is up to debate. Some people really like the money. Can't say I care overmuch either way, night shifts avoid politics and can be pretty fantastic.

5) Radiotherapy IS interesting, but to claim there is more to know and do is incorrect. Both fields allow an entire career worth of professional development, and I would hazard a guess that your average band 5 diagnostic radiographer works in at least as many, if not more departments and roles than a band 5 therapy radiographer.

6) "You carry on developing your skills through all 3 years which you continually use on your placement"
CPD buddy, this happens for your whole career, no matter which health care profession you take.

Remember healthcare these-days is inter-professional, I would advise not speaking down about another profession full stop - it tends to reflect more on the person talking then the people they are talking about. I mean unless we are making nurse jokes, I am always up for nurse jokes.
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uksurfernet
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(Original post by Mjr_issues)
HCPC registered radiographer here. You might want to talk to your diagnostic colleagues more, since you are largely incorrect. I won't get catty, though I could very easily simplify and poke jabs at radiotherapy if I so felt like it.

1) Difficulty is subjective. In terms of oncology knowledge, yes, a therapeutic radiographer will have vastly more than me. The level of physics education is similar between the two, with slightly more dosimetry on radiotherapy's part, but a lot more knowledge on other modalities coming in my edge. However, if we take my in depth of knowledge of the indications for referrals, appropriate modality choice for said indications, likely treatment or pathway, a comprehensive basic image interpretation standard, a thorough working knowledge of the H&SAWA, IRR 2017, IR(ME)R 2017 (and it's 2018 amendment) and such, and how it refers to all aspects of healthcare, rather than just limiting to treatment, I end up with a knowledge base of equal size, but different specialisation. Yes, my areas of interest are different, but they are by no means easier.

2) A newly qualified diagnostic radiographer is expected to be capable of performing any plain film image in a range of different environments on patients of different conditions, while being expected to be proficient in basic dental x-ray, common fluoroscopic procedures (HSG, barium swallows + meals and such) and theatre work. Furthermore, they are expected to be able to perform basic CT scans while under supervision, and if a student has got to their third year without performing a full range of non-specialist CT scans (TAPs, heads, CTPAs and so on) then they haven't been proactive enough. I mean yes, a student isn't going to be performing nuc med exams, but to say that there is limited opportunity for students is incorrect. I would suggest that you refrain from commenting on areas you have likely got very limited experience in. I can tell you that the only "waste of time" is if you are not paying attention in the specialist modalities you are placed in.

In regards to basic familiarity, any diagnostic radiographer is also expected to be able to assist in any department they are put in, as per the HCPC standards of proficiency.

Modalities that are usually performed with on the job training include: QA, CT, MRI, interventional, cath lab, dentals, DEXA (lol) and mammo. It is possible to have university grade training, but is not required to practise in those fields, though it does help. Advanced level practitioners will of course undertake further formal education (mammo biopsies, CT colons and cardiacs, that kinda thing), but your basic rotational radiographer won't need it.

Ultrasound and reporting radiography always require significant training commitments, as do things like radiation protection, for obvious reasons.

3) Diagnostic is by no means simpler than radiotherapy. There is a lot of professional decision making in the process of justifying a referral, deciding the appropriate views, performing or delegating the procedure, reviewing the images, and deciding whether to refer onwards to A&E, have it reported urgently, or to refer the patient to their GP for routine followup. The vast majority of the patients who are referred by their GP to outpatient x-ray are going to have their images reviewed by a radiographer, who then makes the call as to what happens next. On a regular day in outpatients, I make decisions as to whether people need to go to the emergency department, or whether to discharge them home with urgent followup as there is no point referring onwards to the ED.

It is also our job to second guess the referrer and to inform them if alternative imaging modalities are more appropriate, or if the indications provided flat out do not meet the standards of care. If you are debating with a registrar or consultant, you need to (to put it politely) know your ****.

Also you might want to check up more on the whole "one image taken very quickly". Sure I can take just one image for some things, but for a majority of procedures I will be taking multiple images, often with significant degrees of deviation from the standard technique, due to patient conditions. Yes, a GP chest x-ray can be done in 30 seconds, but a full skeletal survey on someone with advanced dementia can require a lot of thinking, as can the severely injured patient in a major trauma.

4) Yep, we do out of hours. Whether it is a pro or con is up to debate. Some people really like the money. Can't say I care overmuch either way, night shifts avoid politics and can be pretty fantastic.

5) Radiotherapy IS interesting, but to claim there is more to know and do is incorrect. Both fields allow an entire career worth of professional development, and I would hazard a guess that your average band 5 diagnostic radiographer works in at least as many, if not more departments and roles than a band 5 therapy radiographer.

6) "You carry on developing your skills through all 3 years which you continually use on your placement"
CPD buddy, this happens for your whole career, no matter which health care profession you take.

Remember healthcare these-days is inter-professional, I would advise not speaking down about another profession full stop - it tends to reflect more on the person talking then the people they are talking about. I mean unless we are making nurse jokes, I am always up for nurse jokes.
Hey man I apologise if you took offence, in no way was I meant to sound like diagnostic radiographers have it easy I was just mentioning comments from what I was told by staff and others. Even friends doing the course have said similar things so was just giving my opinion yes they are both difficult but from when I went for working experience in a DI department that was what I had observed. I know theres always tension between the 2 types of radiographer but hey thats just what I think I was also at one point thinking of becoming a diagnostic too you know.

Nurse jokes? hell yeah lol
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