Radiation Therapy: A Career
What is Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy is the use of ionising radiation to treat cancer and is normally delivered by a Linear Accelerator, known as External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT). It may also be delivered from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells, known as Brachytherapy. Radiation Therapy is the primary curative modality in a number of cancers, and increases cancer survival as an adjuvant therapy in others. It may also be used to relieve symptoms as a palliative treatment where cure is not possible. Over 50% of patients will receive radiotherapy during their cancer journey and radiotherapy has been proven to be a very cost-effective treatment for cancer.
What does a Radiation Therapist do
Radiation therapists (RTs) are the group of professionals with direct responsibility for the administration of radiation therapy to cancer patients, including the technical delivery of the radiation dose. They take an active role in the justification and optimisation of radiotherapy procedures, including treatment planning, and in radiation safety of patients. They contribute to the multidisciplinary team that facilitates the clinical and psychosocial care of the patient throughout treatment preparation and delivery. Under current legislation, S.I. 256 of 2018, RTs in Ireland have both referrer and practitioner status in terms of medical exposures to ionising radiation. Radiation Therapists working in Ireland must be registered to practice with CORU, Ireland’s multi-profession health regulator. https://www.coru.ie/about-us/what-is-coru/
Employment Opportunities for Radiation Therapists
There are excellent employment opportunities for Radiation Therapists within clinical settings in the HSE (Ireland), in the National Health Service (UK), in Ireland and abroad in private medicine. There are also job opportunities in those companies concerned with the manufacture and sale of radiotherapy equipment, including technical and applications support roles.
There are also many research opportunities and opportunities for further education in Ireland and abroad for suitably qualified graduates.
The National Programme for Radiation Oncology (NPRO) has seen the expansion of radiation therapy services nationally within the public health service resulting in very positive employment prospects for radiation therapists in Ireland. 95% of new graduates educated in Ireland will enter full time employment in Ireland as their first experience in the workforce.
Irish graduates seeking to work and travel abroad have successfully found employment in Australia, where their degree is accredited by the Australian Institute of Radiography, and also in other parts of the world including United Kingdom, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
There were more than 400 radiation therapists registered with CORU and working in Ireland in 2018.
Education of RTs in Ireland
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) offers a BSc. Hons Therapy Radiation. https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/radiation-therapy