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Radiation Therapists Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated December 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 30
How would your coworkers describe you?
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How to Answer
When you think about descriptive words for yourself, consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Think about your personality traits and how they correspond with some of the responsibilities of the job description. Reflect on some of the positive comments you have received from coworkers in the past. Pick 2-3 traits that show off some of the strengths that will make you a fantastic asset to this clinic or hospital. Don't be afraid to brag a little, but avoid sounding pompous or over-confident.
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1.
How would your coworkers describe you?
When you think about descriptive words for yourself, consider qualities that are relevant to this position. Think about your personality traits and how they correspond with some of the responsibilities of the job description. Reflect on some of the positive comments you have received from coworkers in the past. Pick 2-3 traits that show off some of the strengths that will make you a fantastic asset to this clinic or hospital. Don't be afraid to brag a little, but avoid sounding pompous or over-confident.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I often hear from my coworkers that they are energized by being around me. I try to stay positive, even in the most discouraging situations. Maintaining an upbeat work environment is important when working with patients who are fighting to beat cancer."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If asked, I believe my coworkers would describe me as a 'glass half full' kind of person. I am always learning something new, and like to share that information with my team. I am willing to help, and exercise compassion in everything that I do."
2.
How do you deal with patients who are especially weak or run down due to chemotherapy?
Show the interviewer how you go above and beyond to be sensitive to the needs of your patients. Even though your role is more focused on the technical side of treatment, each patient interaction is an opportunity to make a positive difference in their life.

Individuals dealing with cancer may find themselves spending most of the days going in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals. Display that you understand the weight of carrying such a life-threatening burden. Even if you haven't experienced it personally, you can still show empathy and be willing to listen to your patient's concerns.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I take time to check in with my patients to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. I show them I care by following up with them when they tell me about their job, their family or anything else going on in their life."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"When people are going through a scary event such as chemotherapy or radiation, they need a deeper human connection at every turn. I am sure to get to know my patients on more than just a surface level. I always offer a warm smile, and reassurance that they are in good hands."
3.
If a patient could not sit still during treatment, what would you do?
Patients may have trouble remaining still for various reasons. Shakiness, irritability or anxiety may be a symptom of their condition or medications they may be taking. You may need to adjust them physically. You also may need to know how to talk them down if they are feeling excessively anxious or nervous. Discuss with the interviewer how you work hard to ensure patients are comfortable and still enough to proceed with their treatment.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Helping my patients to remain calm by setting a tone warmth and care tends to make a big difference if they are nervous or fidgeting. I speak in a soothing voice when my patients are nervous, and I remind them that I'm here to help and happy to answer questions."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"If a patient could not sit still during treatment I would take the time to explain to them how vital it is that they relax and remain still. I would utilize any positioning or immobilization equipment when necessary. There have been more severe occasions where I had to put the treatment on pause and stop to talk the patient off the ledge. These situations happen more often with first-time patients."
4.
How does radiation therapy affect cancer patients, from your experience?
As you know, the effects of radiation may vary from patient to patient. Share examples from patients you have seen throughout your career as a radiation therapist. If you want to elevate your answer, you can talk about what is happening inside the patient's body. If the cancer cells shrink or resist treatment, explain your perspective.

The advantages of radiation therapy include:

- Controls or stops the growth and division of cancer cells
- Treatments are fast and usually does not require a hospital stay
- Many patients feel well enough to continue their everyday life during treatment

The disadvantages of radiation therapy include:

- If cancer is advanced, you may need multiple treatments per week
- Side effects can include fatigue and nausea
- Skin reactions can occur, such as burning and itching

Rachelle's Answer #1
"From the patients that I have seen, radiation gives them a lot of hope that their cancel cells will be staved off for good. I do see some patients who are very fatigued during their treatment, which is understandable considering how hard their bodies are working, internally, to reproduce healthy cells."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Radiation therapy affects patients in a multitude of ways, and everyone will react differently. I have seen patients feel just fine, others with mild side effects such as a loss of appetite for a few hours post-treatment. Then, others who are impacted by chronic fatigue during their treatment cycle. Overall, I believe radiation therapy to be a very targeted and impactful way of fighting cancer cells."
5.
Tell me about a time when you had to be very careful in communicating delicate information.
Due to the nature of your job, you will need to exercise sensitive communication with your patients. Even if they seem calm and confident, understand that they may be dealing with severe forms of cancer. It might not take much to upset or worry them as they struggle to cope with a potentially life-threatening illness. Discuss how you would communicate with a patient who was about to receive disappointing news or test results.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I performed a radiation treatment on a woman with breast cancer. We noticed that as she continued with her treatment over some time, she was not showing signs of improvement. She asked me, 'How does everything look?' I didn't want to scare her with my response. So, I told her, 'Things look stable, but you may want to talk more with the oncologist to get the details. Right now we think it's a good idea to continue radiation.' It's vital that I am sensitive with my approach and delivery, at all times."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am conscious of watching my tone, the words I use, and even mind my facial expressions while working in a patient-facing situation. Last week I had a patient who was very optimistic about her treatment. Her cancer had spread rapidly, and the prognosis was not as positive as anyone hoped - yet, she remained positive. When she asked me if I had seen a case like hers before, and what the outcome was, I said, 'I am unable to discuss other patient cases, but I can tell you that your positive attitude through your treatment is very inspiring to see. Please continue with this amazing outlook!' This way, I was able to encourage her without directing my words to her prognosis."
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