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What Does a CT Scan Technologist Do?

A CT scan technologist is trained to evaluate the scans and spot abnormalities.
Part of a CT scan technologist's responsibility is to ensure the patient's safety.
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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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A career as a CT scan technologist revolves around creating and evaluating computerized images of a patient's organs or tissue. The main difference between this profession and a CT scan technician is that a CT scan technologist implements more complex procedures, like computed tomography (CT), instead of the simpler X-ray images that a CT scan technician uses. In general, this field requires an individual to have either an associate's or bachelor's degree in radiologic technology. Some common tasks include consulting with patients on the CT scan process, ensuring patient safety, creating CT images, evaluating results and explaining results to patients.

For the preliminary stage of a patient's visit, a CT scan technologist will provide an initial consultation. During this time, he might go over a patient's medical history, discuss ailments or illnesses and go over the general CT scan procedure. If a patient has any questions, the technologist will answer them in detail. Consequently, it's beneficial to have good communication skills and be able to build rapport with a variety of individuals.

Another essential part of this job is ensuring patient safety at all times. Since the process of creating a CT scan involves exposure to radiation, it's mandatory that a CT scan technologist address all safety concerns. For example, he will usually need to provide a patient with a lead shield to prevent an overexposure to radiation. In addition to patient safety, it's equally important that the technologist ensures his own safety by wearing the necessary protective equipment.

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Perhaps the most important responsibility of this position is creating high quality CT images. In most cases, this involves first giving each patient a contrast medium, such as iodine. This makes it possible for a CT scan technologist to visually see a patient's bodily organs more easily. Besides this, a technologist must carefully handle all equipment and position it correctly to obtain a clear image.

Along with this, a CT scan technologist must effectively evaluate each patient's results. After images from a scan have been developed, he will need to analyze the images and identify the specifics of a patient's condition. For example, if he is dealing with a cancer patient, a technologist might need to determine the exact location and severity of cancerous cells.

Additionally, it's usually the job of a CT scan technologist to explain the results to each patient. Once he has a thorough understanding of an illness, he must carefully explain what the diagnosis is. Since a diagnosis is sometimes bad, it's important for a technologist to be empathetic and sensitive to a patient's emotional state.

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