The Importance of X-Ray Technicians
X-Ray Technicians are also known as Radiologic Technologists or Radiographers. The
essential idea is that these are the people who handle machines and materials with
radioactive properties for their use in medicine. That description does not nearly do them
justice though, so we begin a closer look into the responsibilities and importance of
The x-ray machine is one of the fundamental diagnostic tools of modern medicine. The
term "x-ray" was coined by Wilhelm Röntgen, who called them such because they were an
unknown kind of radiation. These rays can pass through most solids, but are blocked out by
denser and thicker material. Their discovery by the humble Röntgen - who objected to
these new rays being named after him - netted him the first Nobel Prize in Physics.
Various other scientists and inventors followed his investigations into this strange
energy; famous scientists like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were among those that sought
to learn how these rays could be utilized. The invention and refinement of imaging
machines required the development of a new profession, whose members would be skilled at
maintaining and manipulating the delicate machines while protecting themselves from the
risks. Thus, the profession of radiological technologists was born.
Taking X-rays is not just exposing the patient to a lump of radioactive material to
take an image. It is also about fine control to get the right quality of image. The image
would not be very useful if it was overexposed or under-exposed, in much the same way as
photographic film. Radiographers make sure that the resulting image is as good as possible
by watching and adjusting radiation levels from the machine.
X-ray technicians are also responsible for developing the film. Like the situation in
photography, a piece of film is not stable or useful without being "fixed". Developing the
film sets the image and prevents further reactions, meaning that the image is preserved
and will be viable even under bright light. Because the film needs to be mounted on a
strong light source to be read and interpreted, this fixing process is very important.
Radiographers need to be able to work with people. They need to know how to position
the patients, and how to interact with them. Interaction with a person under the stress of
pain or illness is not easy, and getting them to follow procedure can be more than a
little difficult. These are things that x-ray technicians deal with in their line of work.
Radiation is dangerous, and the job of Radiographers is not without risk. He or she
must know how to shield themselves and the patients from excess radiation. After all, it
just would not do to be made sicker by what is supposed to help you get better.
Lastly, the x-ray technician is the point man in identifying health problems based on
the results. They are not qualified to interpret the findings, but they are more than
knowledgeable enough to spot something off-kilter in the image. They can then prioritize
the results with apparent problems for the radiologist to see first. With all these
duties, we can see how much Radiographers contribute to the practice of medicine.
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