As a general rule, there is not much grossness involved in Rad Onc. Occasionally you do get a very nasty tumor which is open. When they are, they are not pleasant to look at and they have an awful odor.
Tattoos are routine. It's just a little pin prick and only leaves a small dot about the size of a freckle. Yes, we do administer contrast when it is ordered. Many departments have the nursing staff start the IV's and some require the simulation therapist to do it.
We do take X-Rays, but nothing like the diagnostic X-rays. Some sites use Ultrasound to isolate the prostate, and most sites use CT's as part of their simulation for treatment planning. Yes, you will receive training, and no, you do not need further certification as those modalities are used for planning, not diagnostics.
This is also department specific as to how involved the therapist is with brachy procedures. Often the therapist will assist with vaginal and breast treatments. While it is not unheard of, most sites do not have the therapist in on O.R. cases (prostate seeds).
The job market is equally unfavorable to new grads and vets. It is tough right now and has been for several years. The key is to network!! You will find something with a little patience.
It is in the sense that there are financial cutbacks throughout the industry. Reimbursement is less, and therefore they may opt to work with fewer staff.
Many of our patients are terminally ill. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the disease. I would say about 40%ish are. In those cases, you can't look at them that way. You have to know that you are giving them some relief from their pain.
The best part of being a therapist is the patients!!! They are the most amazing, most humble, and most appreciative people…usually. Sometimes if you have a doctor who makes a simple procedure difficult and the patient is lying on the hard table for a long period of time crying because they are in so much pain….THAT gets frustrating.