Radiography - BRad

Introduction

Radiography is a health care science occupation dealing with medical diagnostic images. It is one of the rapidly growing occupations in modern health care. The University of Pretoria offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Radiography in three professional fields, namely Diagnostics, Radiation Therapy and Nuclear Medicine. The Department of Radiography of the Faculty of Health Sciences is one of two such departments in South Africa offering a degree course. All other training in South Africa takes place at technikons. During training, students are exposed to all facets of health care. Training takes place at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

What does the degree entail?

BRad is a full-time course over three years. The first year is a general one, and from the second year students may specialise in one of the following fields: Diagnostics, Radiation Therapy or Nuclear Medicine.

Diagnostic Radiography

The diagnostic radiographer is an essential member of the health team and is responsible for forming and capturing diagnostic images of a patient, as referred by a medical practitioner, for a specific radiographic procedure. X-rays are used to form the image on a film. X-ray procedures are of varying complexity and range from simple skeletal examinations to sophisticated high-technology examinations. In the latter cases, X-rays as well as computers may be used to produce an image. Fractures, brain tumors, hemorrhages and blood clots are only a few of the medical problems diagnosed by these sophisticated devices.

Radiation Therapy

The therapeutic radiographer is involved in immobilisation and localisation procedures, accurate dosage planning and application of treatment by means of ionising rays to patients with tumors (usually malignant) according to the prescription of a radiotherapist (specialist medical practitioner). The therapeutic radiographer is an important member of the therapeutic team. In addition to the application of treatment using sophisticated electronic equipment, the radiographer plays an important part by physically and emotionally supporting patients and their families during a course of radiation.

Nuclear Medicine

The nuclear medical radiographer operates in the medical fields where various radioactive means are used in diagnosing and treating diseases. The radiographer is responsible for the preparation and application of the radioactive agent to the patient. Computer analyses of diagnostic functional images are obtained in this way by using sophisticated equipment.

What can I do with my degree?

The qualified diagnostic radiographer may be employed by the following organisations:

  • Urban and rural hospitals
  • Private clinics and hospitals
  • The SA National Defence Force
  • Mining companies
  • Private radiological practices
  • Training bodies
  • Specialised units such as angiography, computer tomography
  • Magnetic resonanceand ultrasound
  • Representative for companies supplying apparatus and equipment
  • Radiographers may also occupy managerial posts or may establish their own practice
  • Employment opportunities for the therapeutic radiographer and nuclear medicine radiographer are limited to hospitals and private practices in cities.

What are the admission requirements?

Students are selected on academic merit in a specific category. Prospective students are advised to visit a busy X-ray department this will assist in making the correct career choice.

Applications close on 31 May each year.

For more information on admission requirements, please click here for the Faculty Brochure.

What is the course content?

Students follow an academic and a clinical programme. The academic programme covers approximately 28 weeks, during which students attend lectures and gain practical experience in the clinical sections. Clinical tuition takes place in accordance with academic progress so as to enable students themselves to assume responsibility for examinations. The clinical tuition takes place in the Department of Radiology at the Steve Biko Hospital, Jubilee Hospital, Pretoria West Hospital and Witbank Hospital, as well as certain private radiological practices. A timetable is drawn up for students to ensure that the compulsory clinical experience is completed within the three years. Students also gain clinical experience after hours. This implies that they may have to work during weekends and on public holidays such as Christmas, Easter and New Year's Day. It is important that this aspect of the training should be approached with the appropriate attitude from the outset.

Radiographers have to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa before starting work as student radiographers. The Council lays down certain requirements for clinical experience to be gained during the student's training, and this is a prerequisite for registration as a qualified radiographer.

Personal characteristics of a radiographer include the genuine desire to help sick and injured patients. In the course of the day, many decisions regarding patient care are taken. Self-discipline, accuracy and responsibility will assist the radiographer in dealing with any situation. The radiographer should enjoy good health, since the work entails a lot of physical movement of the body in supporting and assisting patients and manipulating equipment.

Where can I get more information?

Department of Radiographic Sciences

University of Pretoria

Tel: +27 12 3563114 / 3563140

 

Published by Marinda Furstenburg

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