Due to the nature of your job, you will need to be highly sensitive with your patients. Even if they seem calm and confident, understand that they may be dealing with serious forms of cancer. It might not take much to upset them or send them over the edge as they struggle to cope with such a serious health issue. Give an example, like this: "I performed a radiation treatment on a woman with breast cancer. We noticed that as she continued with her treatment over a period of time, she was not showing signs of improvement. She asked me, 'How does everything look?' and 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.'"
"I performed a radiation treatment on a woman with breast cancer. We noticed that as she continued with her treatment over a period of time, she was not showing signs of improvement. She asked me, 'How does everything look?' and 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.'"
As you may already know, radiation therapy is a form of palliative care. This term covers other treatments as well, including chemotherapy and surgery. In terms of Oncology, palliative treatment can also mean using medicines to minimize the symptoms, including pain and severe discomfort. Keep in mind that you may be tested on your medical terminology during the interview as they delve deeper into your knowledge and expertise. The interviewer is simply checking to make sure you have a clear understanding of your role, responsibilities and care you will be providing your patients.
Demonstrate your knowledge by explaining how the medicines and machinery you are responsible for operating assist with the process of staving off cancer. Radiation equipment is specialized to target the cancerous cells while sparing the surrounding tissue. Talk about what is happening on a higher level, explaining the science behind it and how the treatment has proven to be effective.
Medical teams work together much like a sports team. It's important for you to manage your work in such a way that it is organized, detailed and legible for any member of the team to review and understand. Each staff member plays an important role in the care of patients. Explain to the interviewer how you contribute to your team: "I am definitely a team player! I love working with my staff, because we communicate well and support each other during hectic times. I am thorough with my patients and keep detailed records. I also strive to keep a good attitude."
"I am definitely a team player! I love working with my staff, because we communicate well and support each other during hectic times. I am thorough with my patients and keep detailed records. I also strive to keep a good attitude."
Your ability to manage stress will directly influence your ability to provide optimal patient care. Before answering this question, think of some tools that have helped you manage your stress. What will you do when you can't take a break when you need it? "I've learned some helpful breathing techniques that I can do while I'm at work. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a patient situation, I am able to slow down my breath and remain calm. Patient care will always be my top priority, and that's why I've learned to manage my stress effectively."
"I've learned some helpful breathing techniques that I can do while I'm at work. Even when I'm feeling rushed or overwhelmed by a patient situation, I am able to slow down my breath and remain calm. Patient care will always be my top priority, and that's why I've learned to manage my stress effectively."
Do you enjoy helping people? Are you interested in working in an environment where you are constantly learning? Think about your future career plans. Are you interested in continuing your education by learning about how to manage and operate different types of machines? Discuss how this new position fits into your career goals. Share why you're excited about working in the medical field and what you're looking forward to. Here is an example: "I am passionate about helping people. I've always been interested in how the human body works and how technology and medicine can heal it. Learning to administer radiation treatments and operate the machines to help treat health problems was so appealing to me, because I got to learn about how things work in both the physiological and technical side."
"I am passionate about helping people. I've always been interested in how the human body works and how technology and medicine can heal it. Learning to administer radiation treatments and operate the machines to help treat health problems was so appealing to me, because I got to learn about how things work in both the physiological and technical side."
Your focus may be centered on radiation therapy, but having a broader knowledge of the machines that produce imaging like a CT scan or an MRI are also important. Doctors use these tools to help them to identify exactly where radiation needs to be applied. An MRI does not use x-rays or radiation and it is often used to produce imaging of the brain. A CT scan takes multiple images from different angles to allow you to see layers of a section of the body. Be sure to familiarize with any specific medical terminology you might be questioned about.
When an interviewer asks about your education, speak confidently about the work you have accomplished! Becoming a radiation therapist is no easy task, as you know. Talk about what you learned, and share some of the highlights of your training and experience from your clinical rotations. What experiences did you gain that have influenced your approach to healthcare? Explaining how hard you worked and some of the challenges you encountered shows your strengths. How did you overcome the challenge of finding balance and managing stress? Talk about how your education influenced your decision to focus on radiation therapy and technology.
Share your personal experience and passion for helping others. If there was a significant event, like losing a family member to cancer or undergoing treatment yourself, share how these experiences affected you and influenced your decision to pursue this career. The interviewer is interested in getting to know you, your background and your motivation.
What are you looking for in an employer? It can be hard to know, especially if it's crunch time and you're in desperate need for a job. It can help to review company websites and read employee reviews. Leverage your connections, talking to people you know who work there to learn as much as you can based on their experiences. As you learn more about the company, pick out some of the aspects you are most impressed with and find appealing. Learning about the company mission and values will help you to know if they are the right company for you. Answer this question by sharing some of the key points that jumped out at you as you researched the company. Explain how those are reasons you would want to work for them.
What types of personalities do you work well with? Can you keep up with a fast pace or do you prefer to work somewhere more low-key? This question helps the interviewer gauge how you might fit into the work environment and, ultimately, how you will mesh with the team. Explaining your work style and what motivates you will help them to better understand that you would be an excellent fit. Be sure to know what sort of work environment to expect before answering the question. You want to be able to describe yourself in terms that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. "I work well independently, and I'm motivated by the patients and my ability to provide care for them. I also enjoy working in a team environment. I can adapt to working with different personalities and I enjoy interacting with patients and helping them in their treatment." Expressing your ability to work with others and independently shows your flexibility. Work environments can change depending on the staff or business ownership. Explain what you bring to the table and how you are able to adapt to fast-paced or challenging work environments.
"I work well independently, and I'm motivated by the patients and my ability to provide care for them. I also enjoy working in a team environment. I can adapt to working with different personalities and I enjoy interacting with patients and helping them in their treatment."
Time management is a skill that takes experience and fine tuning. As you learn to prioritize your daily tasks and start using tools and tricks to help focus your attention, you become more effective with your time. Remember, everyone is different! It helps to understand your weaknesses and what types of environments aid in your productivity. Some people work better late at night while others prefer early morning shifts. After considering these factors, how would you respond to this question?
"I make sure that I am clear on expectations and required tasks, asking questions to clarify to prevent misunderstandings. I am thorough with patients, making detailed assessments before treatment and keeping track of time during visits."
Share your knowledge of the dangers of radiation. There are certain questions you are required to ask every patient before you perform the imaging. Why? Well, if they are pregnant, the fetus is at risk for cancer and tumors. The patient can experience damage to their thyroid and there is a risk of cancer to them as well. Think about what you have learned about the body and how tissues in the body respond to radiation if they are exposed.
Even though your role is very hands-on, you will also be expected to maintain records and reports, sometimes even managing patient files. These patient records include vital information such as radiation dosages that will help you to know how to move forward with treatment. Equipment settings will also be recorded and you will be expected to keep track of how patients react during each phase of treatment. Share how you are able to manage your time and all of the patient information in order to stay on track and on top of helping patients improve.
Your relationship with the physician at your practice will be one of your top priorities. They will empower you to administer doses of radiation, conduct treatment sessions, and manage radiation equipment, but it also takes time and experience to build the trust for them to delegate extra responsibilities. Describe your relationship with the physician you spent the most time with during your clinicals, or if you have experienced working directly under a doctor in a work setting, talk about how you nurtured that relationship. What were the dynamics? Was it more like a partnership or did you let the doctor take the lead? Was the doctor a good manager or a strong leader? Share some qualities about the doctor and talk about how they influenced you as a professional. What did you learn from your experience working for them?
Working with patients, doctors and other medical staff requires a lot of dedication and a good attitude. Think of some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the past or anticipate for the future. What qualities will help you navigate them? How will you stay calm in some of those stressful situations? Some qualities we recommend sharing include patience, focus, and attention to detail. There are many traits that will serve you on your quest to treat and support patient health. Which do you think are the most important from your experience?
How do you troubleshoot to solve problems when the machine is not working? What is the first thing you check? A good response could be, "Depending on what the machine is doing, I may check to see if it is overheated. The machine I've used tends to shut down at times on a busy day when it has been overused." Draw from your experience and your training. What are some of the common problems you have experienced when working with these machines? What are the errors you see and how do you address them?
"Depending on what the machine is doing, I may check to see if it is overheated. The machine I've used tends to shut down at times on a busy day when it has been overused."
Radiation therapists have close working relationships with the doctors at their practice. They will rely on you to provide the best client care during a treatment and to manage client information. Trust comes with time and experience. Describe your relationship with the physician you spent the most time with during your clinicals, or if you have experienced working directly under a doctor in a work setting, talk about how you nurtured that relationship. What were the dynamics? Was it more like a partnership or did you let the doctor take the lead? Was the doctor a good manager or a strong leader? How did you compliment each other's personalities and styles? Share some qualities about the doctor and talk about how they influenced you as a professional. What did you learn from your experience working for them?
Coaching and training others is always great experience to add to your resume and can also be fun! For this role, you may have an opportunity to train new staff on equipment and treatments you perform. You may even have an opportunity to do a presentation on a new form of technology used to treat cancer. The medical field is always changing as new research brings improvements and inventions. Share how you have led teams, coached new employees or trained a team on a new technology or an improved practice.
How do you feel about working without supervision, one-on-one with patients? What experience do you have working independently? Your treatment sessions with patients will typically be conducted without the supervision of the doctor. You will need to be confident enough to follow the long-term treatment plan when working with patients and also know when to request the doctor's input. Think of some examples of patient experiences where you guided them through their plan of care. Do you feel prepared to operate machines and position patients when performing a treatment?
Whether you're using a linear accelerator or cobalt machines to destroy cancer cells, you will need to know how to operate and maintain these types of equipment. From your training and clinical rotations, talk about your knowledge about these machines and how radiation affects your patients. What types of problems have you experienced in the past? How do you take precautions to make sure patients are safe during treatment?
Working in the medical field can be a bit unpredictable, so you will need to be prepared at all times! A crisis could be anything from a patient going into cardiac arrest during a treatment to a patient getting sick and vomiting on your shoes. The intensive radiation treatments your patients endure often have pretty adverse affects on their health. Educating yourself on how radiation affects patients, for better or worse, will help you to expect the unexpected and know how to deal with it. If you haven't experienced this situation before, talk about how you would go about handling it. Demonstrate that you are ready for anything!
What signs or symptoms are you looking for in your patients during treatment? As you track the rate of cancer cells growing and spreading, what should you keep in mind about how the patient might be feeling? It's important for you to be able to interpret some of these physical signs of the patient for many reasons. Every person is different, and some people can tolerate more rounds of treatment than others. Describe some of the side effects and share any personal relevant experience you have with patients who have displayed any of these symptoms. What is your response when you notice these issues? How do you communicate with the patient about it?
Radiation therapists are healthcare professionals who specialize in operating various types of radiation equipment that is used to treat cancer and other diseases. They are employed by hospitals, outpatient centers, and physician clinics. As part of their tasks, radiation therapists explain the procedure to patients, inspect, operate and maintain the equipment, monitor the patient for any adverse reaction and maintain detailed records of every procedure.
While a 12-month certificate program may qualify you to work as a radiation therapist, your job opportunities will be limited. Most employers will give preference to candidates who have completed a bachelor's or associate's degree in radiation therapy and who also have some work experience in the field. You can get the necessary experience by completing an internship under the supervision of an experienced radiation therapist. Most states also require radiation therapists to certified or licensed. Meticulous attention to detail, physical stamina, and strong interpersonal and technical skills are important qualities for this role.
Your interview questions will largely focus on your knowledge of the procedures as well as the safety measures involved in using radiation equipment. You must have thorough knowledge of these two areas for any employer to even consider hiring you. You must also convince them of your interest in working in this particular role and your passion for helping people who are ill. Practising how to answer some of the more commonly asked questions will help you be more prepared and more confident at your interview. You can find these questions listed at Mock Questions.