Many times, a radiographer is also referred to as an x-ray technician. There are several criteria that will determine whether a person will be a successful radiographer or not. Regardless of these, as a person seeking to become a radiographer, the monthly take-home is likely to influence that decision.
If you are based in South Africa and desire to be a radiographer, we will help you with the figures in this post. We will also show you the responsibilities of a radiographer and how to become one.
Before we go ahead to the main discussion of this article, it is imperative that we first define radiography. This is because several people confuse this aspect of medical science with several others.
In plain language, radiography is taking x-rays of people with the aim of providing diagnosis and consequently, treatment. When a radiographer takes an x-ray, the results are forwarded to a radiologist who then examines it.
X-rays are vital to several diagnostic processes as they help to determine the internal condition of patients. Even though many people think x-rays are for bones alone, they have a variety of uses. These days, several advanced pieces of equipment have been developed to make this process more accurate and reliable.
Responsibilities of a radiographer
To become a radiographer, it is important that you know the exact responsibilities required of you. In this section, we take a look at the responsibilities of a radiographer in South Africa:
- Working with patients to explain x-ray procedures. This helps patients to understand and relax through the process.
- Daily reviews of x-ray reports and ensuring proper and efficient documentation of daily activities.
- Execution of default x-rays as well as the interpretation of results of x-ray examinations.
- Ensuring strict compliance with best practice guidelines set by the industry and regulatory bodies. This also includes abiding by radiation safety rules and organizational objectives and instructions.
Becoming a radiographer in South Africa
While many people like the idea of becoming a radiologist in South Africa, not everyone is able to follow through with the process. The process of becoming a radiologist begins from high school or secondary school with the study of science and mathematics. After graduating, you need to enroll in a higher institution to study radiography.
Some of the institutions where you can study radiography in South Africa include:
- University of Cape Town
- University of Limpopo
- University of Johannesburg
- University of Stellenbosch
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
- Technological University, Durban
After this, you are expected to undergo a year’s supervised practice also known as internship. This practice period is usually paid and it is carried out in an accredited radiology department of a health center or hospital. Following this, you are expected to apply to be a part of the South African Health Care Council. You will also need to be a fellow of the Radiological Society of South Africa.
When you have been certified, you can then shift your focus to specific areas of radiography. These may include diagnostic radiography, nuclear medicine, diagnostic ultrasound, and radiotherapy. It is also very important to know how to relate with patients as well as the right techniques to be used. As a radiographer, you should also know about anatomy and physiology as this is a key aspect of the profession.
If you take a step further to study radiotherapy, then you will become a real hotcake in the industry. This is because you will be attending to cancer patients. Radiotherapy is a process that is married to several other processes like chemotherapy to treat cancer. The idea governing this is the destruction of cancerous cells without causing damage to healthy tissue.
Skills and attributes a radiographer should possess
For each occupation, there are certain skills and attributes that you need to possess. These will go a long way in determining how well you will perform and to what extent you will be successful. Radiography is not different which is why we have put together this list to help you make your decision:
- Strong interpersonal skills.
- Paying attention to detail.
- Strong scientific and technological background.
- Able to calculate procedure times as well as the time of exposure to radiation.
- Ability to accommodate and relate with patients in a friendly manner.
- Ability to care to maintain equipment to ensure long lifespan and safety.
- Strong ability to explain procedures to patients and able to convince them to take corrective measures for their health when the need arises.
- Mastery of the control and development of radiographic films.
Radiographers’ salary in South Africa
Usually, radiographers in South Africa earn an average monthly salary of between R25,000 and R35,000. These individuals must have gained at least three years of experience and be registered with the HPCSA. To be better paid, an individual should have knowledge of ultrasound and fluoroscopy. Radiologists generally work in hospitals and other healthcare-providing institutions.
Opportunities in Radiography in South Africa
Radiographers are very important members of any Health Diagnostic Team. Because of this, they have to be highly qualified and be able to manipulate technical equipment properly. Some of the equipment used by radiographers include CT Scanners, Magnetic Resonance Scanners, and mobile X-ray devices.
To be sincere, this job is quite challenging and leaves very little room for error. However, there is a lot of opportunity in this sector and you can specialize in different aspects. With specialization comes an increase in the expected take-home at the end of each month. Some of the different specialized areas include:
- Mobile X-Air – This focuses on providing help to patients who cannot make it to the hospital because of their health condition.
- Magnetic Resonance Images
- Angiography – Helps to capture images of the blood vessels and the heart.
- Traumatic X-ray – This focuses on diagnosing patients with internal injuries.
- Computer Tomography – This involves testing using 3D images.
- Operative theater – Provide assistance to surgeons during radiological operations.
Radiography is an interesting occupation that also pays well. However, we advise that beyond the money, you should consider whether you have the passion and the required abilities before diving in.