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Tyler in Iraq

70 months ago

Hey everyone. Still in the Army, planning on a career in Radiation Therapy when I get out.

I am wondering if you wear scrubs as a uniform, and if so - are you allowed to wear long sleeves under them? I am heavily tattooed (up to my wrists), and would like to keep them hidden during work. I wouldn't want my appearance to make the patient feel uncomfortable at all.

Thanks!

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Kristin in Provo, Utah

70 months ago

Tyler,
I am a Radiation Therapist. The dress code really depends on where you work. Some Radiation Therapy departments require that therapists do NOT wear scrubs, but I would say that is the exception rather than the rule. Most Radiation Therapists wear scrubs to work and don't care at all if you wear a long sleeve shirt under them. I do it all the time. Or could always wear a lab coat over your scrubs.

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Tyler

70 months ago

Thanks for the info.

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Laci in Dickson, Tennessee

42 months ago

Kristin in Provo, Utah said: Tyler,
I am a Radiation Therapist. The dress code really depends on where you work. Some Radiation Therapy departments require that therapists do NOT wear scrubs, but I would say that is the exception rather than the rule. Most Radiation Therapists wear scrubs to work and don't care at all if you wear a long sleeve shirt under them. I do it all the time. Or could always wear a lab coat over your scrubs.

Hi,

I am actually looking into making radiation therapy my major. As much as I love to help people and really want to be in the medical field.. I do have a weak stomach when it comes to blood and needles. Other than that I'm good. Being that you are a radiation therapist, I was wondering will I have to see blood and deal with needles? Also where did you go to school? All the info you can give will be so appreciated!! Thanks!!

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Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania

42 months ago

Laci in Dickson, Tennessee said: Hi,

I am actually looking into making radiation therapy my major. As much as I love to help people and really want to be in the medical field.. I do have a weak stomach when it comes to blood and needles. Other than that I'm good. Being that you are a radiation therapist, I was wondering will I have to see blood and deal with needles? Also where did you go to school? All the info you can give will be so appreciated!! Thanks!!

You may be required to start IV's and administer other contrast/marking tools depending upon where you work at and you do see some pretty gruesome stuff. Although the majority of therapy is not gross in any way, there is always the exception to the rule. Some tumors grow externally and are not pleasant to look at by any means, of course there are always other things that may pop up here and there...

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mynhii in Oakland, California

42 months ago

Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania said: You may be required to start IV's and administer other contrast/marking tools depending upon where you work at and you do see some pretty gruesome stuff. Although the majority of therapy is not gross in any way, there is always the exception to the rule. Some tumors grow externally and are not pleasant to look at by any means, of course there are always other things that may pop up here and there...

Don't radiation therapists deal with physics-related knowledge most of the time? I don't know what IV has anything to do with radiation. Isn't it more related to chemotherapy?

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Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania

42 months ago

mynhii in Oakland, California said: Don't radiation therapists deal with physics-related knowledge most of the time? I don't know what IV has anything to do with radiation. Isn't it more related to chemotherapy?

Radiation therapy is very physics related; however, from our stand point, it is more for an understanding of what is going on and so that we may aide in problem solving in some circumstances. We perform CT scans from which the treatment plan is formulated. As a part of the CT scan, it is often required that we administer contrast agenst which require an IV. Radiation therapy really has nothing to do with chemo. They are completely different forms of cancer treatment. They are administered in different departments, but a patient may be under chemo treatment while getting radiation threatments (usually for lung cancer patients). The chemo makes the radiation's effects more intense...If you want to work more with the physics side and have little patient contact, you may look into medical dosimetry.

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mynhii in Oakland, California

42 months ago

Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania said: Radiation therapy is very physics related; however, from our stand point, it is more for an understanding of what is going on and so that we may aide in problem solving in some circumstances. We perform CT scans from which the treatment plan is formulated. As a part of the CT scan, it is often required that we administer contrast agenst which require an IV. Radiation therapy really has nothing to do with chemo. They are completely different forms of cancer treatment. They are administered in different departments, but a patient may be under chemo treatment while getting radiation threatments (usually for lung cancer patients). The chemo makes the radiation's effects more intense...If you want to work more with the physics side and have little patient contact, you may look into medical dosimetry.

Thank you for your answer. I plan to study radiation therapy as an alternative to nursing. The reason is that I don't like dealing with needles. I'm too nervous to perform invasive procedures with needles. Perhaps I have to reconsider my choice.

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Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania

42 months ago

Good luck!

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Matt Mitchell

41 months ago

Hi mynhii,

I'm currently in a Radiation Therapy program and I can promise, you're going to have to do some gross stuff. Depending on where you go to school, you'll most likely follow a similar program curriculum as radiologic sciences - which is what you'll be doing. You have to perform catheters, do enemas, and practice IV's. And I know for a fact in the radiation therapy program you do a nursing rotation.

But I promise, it is really different when you're with a patient. At that moment, you're only concerned for their well being, and you're more embarrassed for them than you're embarrassed yourself. Always remember that whatever you're feeling - it's much worse for them.

Hope this helps. Radiation Therapy is a very rewarding career. The opportunity to be there for people in their time of need far outweighs any discomfort on our part. Good luck!

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mynhii in Oakland, California

41 months ago

Matt Mitchell said: Hi mynhii,

I'm currently in a Radiation Therapy program and I can promise, you're going to have to do some gross stuff. Depending on where you go to school, you'll most likely follow a similar program curriculum as radiologic sciences - which is what you'll be doing. You have to perform catheters, do enemas, and practice IV's. And I know for a fact in the radiation therapy program you do a nursing rotation.

But I promise, it is really different when you're with a patient. At that moment, you're only concerned for their well being, and you're more embarrassed for them than you're embarrassed yourself. Always remember that whatever you're feeling - it's much worse for them.

Hope this helps. Radiation Therapy is a very rewarding career. The opportunity to be there for people in their time of need far outweighs any discomfort on our part. Good luck!

Hello Matt,
I'm not worried about gross stuff at work. I'm not afraid of blood, but I'm worried about hurting patients. I'm fine with nurses or phlebotomists insert a needle into my vein and draw out my blood. I see every step without blinking. However, doing it on a patient is a different story. I have never pictured myself doing that.

If radiation therapy is like what you describe, perhaps I need to consider my choice. Maybe I should take a phlebotomy class first. Once I feel comfortable with getting inside a patient's skin, I may be ready for radiation therapy.

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Matt Mitchell

41 months ago

mynhii in Oakland, California said: Hello Matt,
I'm not worried about gross stuff at work. I'm not afraid of blood, but I'm worried about hurting patients. I'm fine with nurses or phlebotomists insert a needle into my vein and draw out my blood. I see every step without blinking. However, doing it on a patient is a different story. I have never pictured myself doing that.

If radiation therapy is like what you describe, perhaps I need to consider my choice. Maybe I should take a phlebotomy class first. Once I feel comfortable with getting inside a patient's skin, I may be ready for radiation therapy.

Let me be a little more clear, this is the type of stuff you do in clinicals during school. You have to learn it in case you ever need it. Once you actually get into the career, you'll do very little if any of those things. If you can just get through the program.

In fact, as far as I know I don't know that radiation therapists do enemas, and very rarely IVs. And if necessary, calling for an RN to start the IV is acceptable in most places if you're not comfortable starting it, or your first attempt or two to find a vein fails.

I promise, starting IVs are not nearly as hard or scary as you think they are once you learn how to do it. Everything in the medical field seems scary until you learn the knowledge. You can't be expected to know how to do something you haven't learned yet. But, the only way to know if you'll like it is to give it a try, or call the Radiology Department at a local medical center and inquire about maybe doing an observation.

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Shiloh Litton in Clarksville, Pennsylvania

41 months ago

Matt Mitchell said: Let me be a little more clear, this is the type of stuff you do in clinicals during school. You have to learn it in case you ever need it. Once you actually get into the career, you'll do very little if any of those things. If you can just get through the program.

In fact, as far as I know I don't know that radiation therapists do enemas, and very rarely IVs. And if necessary, calling for an RN to start the IV is acceptable in most places if you're not comfortable starting it, or your first attempt or two to find a vein fails.

I promise, starting IVs are not nearly as hard or scary as you think they are once you learn how to do it. Everything in the medical field seems scary until you learn the knowledge. You can't be expected to know how to do something you haven't learned yet. But, the only way to know if you'll like it is to give it a try, or call the Radiology Department at a local medical center and inquire about maybe doing an observation.

As a practicing Radiation Therapist, I can tell you that what you are required to do depends upon the site that you work at. At my site, we do insert IV's, we insert contrast into genitals, we insert anal tubes to expel any air...And that's in the simulation.

Then as a part of daily treatments, Matt is right, there usually isn't anything too gross. There is the occational tumor that grows externally (Which can be really nasty to look at) Sometimes the patients accidentally relieve themselves while on the table and it is up to you to clean it up. A lot of them are in excruciating pain and when we manipulate them to get them into position, it is very uncomfortable for them. A great number of them also have horrible body odor.

You have to learn to look past all of that and remember why you are there and what made you choose that career in the first place. If you are in it for the right reasons, those things won't bother you. You know that in the end, you are helping them.

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A.Hostetler in Saugatuck, Michigan

24 months ago

I have a tattoo on my hand, do you think that I will be able to be a radiation therapist?

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Shiloh Litton in Salisbury, Maryland

24 months ago

A.Hostetler in Saugatuck, Michigan said: I have a tattoo on my hand, do you think that I will be able to be a radiation therapist?

It depends upon the policies of the facility. A tattoo in itself has nothing to do with your capabilities. I have seen radiation therapists with multiple tattoos. I would just try my best to cover it until after the hiring process. People can be judgemental butts, but after that, it's just pure discrimination.

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billsart in New York, New York

24 months ago

A.Hostetler in Saugatuck, Michigan said: I have a tattoo on my hand, do you think that I will be able to be a radiation therapist?

I have worked as a therapist at multiple hospitals and I have partial sleeves on both arms. I usually cover them with a long sleeve shirt under my scrubs but that is my own choice, I have never been directly told to cover them but I do know there are certain patients that I would flaunt them in front of. Remember we are dealing with older people who grew up in a much different world and for some tattoos are something that can represent a time in their lives they would rather forget (ex. WW2 era Europeans, many were tattoo'd by the German Army). Also for some they have religious beliefs that do not allow any marking of the body, I actually have had some patients that we could not give them permanent tattoos because of this, we had to use carfusion ink and touch it up every day.
I keep mine covered so there will be no problems

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billsart in New York, New York

24 months ago

Let me correct my previous post : "there are certain patients I would NOT flaunt them in front of"

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