The Medical Physicist
About the medical physics professional
| Who are Medical Physicists?
Medical physicists are health care professionals with specialized training in the medical applications of physics. Their work often involves the use of x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic and electric fields, infra-red and ultraviolet light, heat and lasers in diagnosis and therapy. Most medical physicists work in hospital diagnostic imaging departments, cancer treatment facilities, or hospital-based research establishments. Others work in universities, government, and industry.
| What do Medical Physicists do?
Most medical physicists work in one or more of the following areas:
The responsibilities of a clinical medical physicist lie predominantly in the areas of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging. The roles of a medical physicist in radiotherapy include treatment planning and radiotherapy machine design, testing, calibration, and troubleshooting. The roles of a medical physicist in diagnostic imaging include machine purchasing and installation, testing, quality control, and operation.
- Radiation Safety
Medical physicists have expertise in radiation safety. Ghanaian regulations recognize medical physicists who are certified by the Allied Health Professions Council of Ghana (AHPC)
- Research and Development
Medical physicists are involved at the frontiers of research at all levels:
- basic, theoretical studies into new physical concepts that might be used for diagnosis and treatment
- development and testing of equipment
- the conduct of clinical trials of new imaging and treatment techniques.
Medical research work is almost always highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary. Collaborations typically involve basic scientists in universities, equipment manufactures and a range of different medical professionals, including radiographers, radiologists and radiation oncologists.
The recent rapid technical developments in equipment used in medical imaging and therapy mean that there is always a need for applied research and development work within hospitals. Finding the optimum way to use new equipment and designing practical and robust methods for implementing technology in a busy clinical workplace are challenges that face most medical physicists are some stage.
Most medical physicists are affiliated with universities. Many medical physicists teach in graduate and undergraduate medical physics and physics programs. They also teach radiology and radiation oncology residents, medical students, and radiology, radiotherapy, and nuclear medicine technologists.
| Why is a medical physicist needed in X-ray imaging?
Role of the medical physicist—X-ray imaging equipment and X-ray facility
Role of the medical physicist — X-ray imaging procedures
Role of the medical physicist—training and regulatory activities
| What knowledge and skills of medical physicist working in X-ray imaging?
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