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Radiation Therapists Interview Questions

1. Do you have a high level of tolerance for being around patients that may appear unhealthy from their chemotherapy?
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Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer in the human body. As part of a medical radiation oncology team, radiation therapists use machines called linear accelerators to administer radiation treatment to patients. Linear accelerators are most commonly used in a procedure called external beam therapy, which projects high-energy X rays at targeted cancer cells. As the X rays collide with human tissue, they produce highly energized ions that can shrink and eliminate cancerous tumors. Radiation therapy is sometimes used as the sole treatment fo...
Source: bls.gov/oco/ocos299.htm

Radiation Therapists Interview Questions

2 of 17

What does palliative treatment mean?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Absolutely. I want a career in this field to help cure patients who are battling cancer, and a part of that is being around the patients who are all in different stages of cancer.
 
2.
Yes, although it is an uneasy situation I feel that empathy for someone going through such difficult situation. They might not look healthy but they are human just like you and I and deserve the utmost respect.
 
3.
Yes, I do have a high tolerance of unhealthy patients.
 
4.
Yes, I have a very strong mentality and have built my strength up for dealing with patients that appear unhealthy.
 
5.
I have been in this field for 11 years and have a great deal of patience and understanding for our sick tired and overwhelmed patients.
 
6.
I have extensive experience of working with patients during my medical school education e.g. I have seen patients with skin conditions and cancer patients and it gives me a nourishing experience to help patients.
 
7.
I do, but I will treat them like any ordinary patient and provide whatever needs necessary to comfort them.
 
8.
From my experience in clinical as a student, I think I do. When I see patients who are very unwell, I just like to think that hopefully what we do as radiation therapists can improve the patients situation. If anything, it makes me want to do my job better because I want my patients to be better.
 
9.
Yes. It takes a lot to make me truly uneasy. I have a high tolerance for gross things, always have. No matter what the patient looks like I am still able to see them as the person they are and not focus on the effects other treatments have had on them.
 
10.
Of course this is not something I enjoy, but I do have a great understanding that this is a part of life and knowing what the patient is going through makes it possible for me.
 

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Question
#3 of 17

If a patient can not sit still during treatment, or prior to treatment, what would you do?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
If a patient were to keep shifting around prior to or during treatment, I would utilize the different pieces of equipment available, such as the hand ring or the leg bolus to keep the patient in the correct position. To keep the patient from feeling like they were being restrained, I would also remind them about the importance of them remaining still during treatment for safety reasons.
 
2.
If the patient would have to get any pain medication, I would first make sure patient got it before he enters the treatment room. Make sure I give enough time to the pain medication to work. If the patient is nervous and accordingly, he is struggling to stay still on the bed I would talk to the patient and calm him self down. I would ask him to relax and explain him the importance of staying still during the treatment. If the patient can not manage to say still at all, I would use other supporting immobilization devises to keep the patient in a stable position.
 
3.
I would use the objects available to hold the patient in position.
 
4.
Make him as much comfortable to maitain the right position.
 
5.
I would explain to them the importance of sitting still and run through the safety guide lines. If necessary I would use the available equipment.
 
6.
I would start by emphasizing the importance of remaining completely still during treatment for greater success overall.
 
7.
I will explain to them if it is necessary for the treatment and help them trying to sit still; ask them to focus on something; an object in the room to help them sit still.
 
8.
Utilize different immobilization devices that will help them to hold still such as a ring for the arms to hold on, then tell them the importance of holding still.
 
9.
You try to find common ground with the patient to help calm them.
 
10.
Identify what the problem is . Tal to the patient see whats causing it.
 

Question
#4 of 17

If you do not understand the radiation oncologist's plan, what would you do?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
If I receive anything from the radiation oncologist that I do not fully comprehend then I would not hesitate to ask them to elaborate more on the treatment plan because at the end of the day , this is not about me but it is about the patient receiving the best accurate care.
 
2.
If there is ever any doubt concerning a patients treatment or care I would immediately consult the Doctor.
 
3.
I will ask the consultant again and if they are not available I will ask someone else in the team who would know and can explain.
 
4.
Consult with the radiation oncologists to confirm the course of action.
 
5.
Ask questions and discuss with physician, dosimetry, and the other therapists.
 
6.
I would see if another therapist that I was working with understood and if I still was not confident in moving forward I would work my way up to Dr. Lai by going to dosimetry and physics or directly to dr. Lai and ask him to clarify what he is intending.
 
7.
I would try to verify it with him or consult a physicist.
 
8.
Consult the oncologist before administering any treatment.
 
9.
I would make notes of the points I was having difficulty understanding and clarify them with the rad onc.
 
10.
If I was unsure of the treatment plan, I would contact the oncologist to get clarification.
 

Education Requirements

Radiation Therapist have completed an associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in radiation therapy. Most states require a license to practice Radiation Therapy. Some Radiation Therapist get by, by completing a 12 month certification. However, most employers require at least an associate's degree.

Question
#5 of 17

Can you explain to me, why patients receive radiation therapy?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Patients receive radiation therapy to help control or cure their disease. Some patients need pain relief and are too advanced to be cured by our help but some radiation would help with their pain control. Otherwise we are trying to eliminate the disease alone with radiation therapy or in conjuncture with chemotherapy and or surgery.
 
2.
To cure their cancer or to control/shrink the cancer and provide symptom relief.
 
3.
Patients receive radiation therapy for complete radical treatment or as paliative treatment for malignacies.
 
4.
Patients receive radiation therapy to cure the cancer.
 
5.
Radiation therapy is chosen asd it is a localised treatment as opposed to chemotherapy being systemic. The advantage of this is that the patient will not experience hairloss, vomiting etc and should only experience sideeffects in the area being treated. (patients may experience fatigue) Radiation therapy is.
 
6.
Patients receive radiation therapy for many reasons. Radiation is used to destroy cancer cells; however some patients receive radiation along with chemotherapy or immunotherapy, also before a surgical procedure to help shrink a tumor that is going to be removed, and sometimes patients receive radiation after a surgical procedure has already been performed, to destroy any smaller cells that were left behind after surgery.
 
7.
Patients receive radiation treatments usually in conjunction with chemotherapy or after/before surgery to increase their chances for survival/cure.
 
8.
Patients receive radiotherapy to halt excessive division of cancer cells leading to cancer development.
 
9.
To help minimize the size of tumors in the hope it can be removed or eliminated. It can also be used to mediate the pain level.
 
10.
Radiation Therapy is one of the common treatments for cancer. The option of getting radiation therapy is upon the discretion of the physician but it is based on different factors such as the type of disease and whether or not it will respond well to the treatment, the area that we are treating, the condition of the patient.
 

Question
#6 of 17

Why is it important that the patient remain in the same position during each treatment?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
The patients treatment plan is based on the original CT and positioning that went along with it. For best results it is crucial that the patient remain in the same position daily to target the tumor area and deliver the full dose to maximize chance of survival.
 
2.
Radiation therapy is a field that focuses on very precise and accurate treatments. Thinking back to the process of how the patient goes from the CT Simulation to their treatments, it is important to remember that the treatment we deliver and the plan that is approved to deliver the treatment is based on the CT Scan and all the doses and calculations are based on that position from their scan. If they were treated not in the same position, we would not be able to deliver the treatment as per treatment plan.
 
3.
So that they get appropriate dose in the target area where treatment is required.
 
4.
To make sure that the radiation is going to the exact spot where it needs to be going which was measured accordingly in their treatment plan and must be consistent throughout treatments.
 
5.
We want to make sure we are treating the target as accurately as possible and part of doing that is ensuring the patient is in the same poistion. A difference in positon could mean potential underdosing of the target and/or overdosing of critical structures.
 
6.
Radiation therapy is usually a local treatment. In order for the radiation to be delivered in the most accurate way, the patient has to stay still and the beam has to go to the exact place of where the target tumor is in order for the patient to receive the best dose in an unhealthy cell and not in a healthy cell.
 
7.
Radiation therapy is location specific, and once the patient is line up with the beams and slight movement or shifts could cause the treatment to be administered on healthy tissue rather than the area of need.
 
8.
So that the treatment can be given precisely to the cancer whilst avoiding healthy tissues.
 
9.
The tumor is in a certain location within the patient and the treatment needs to be directed at the cancerous cells every dose, not surrounding healthy tissue.
 
10.
Because radiation therapy involves targeting specific cells and in order to maintain accuracy, the exact position needs to be reproduced in every therapy session.
 

Work Environment

Radiation therapists are on their feet for long periods and may need to lift or turn disabled patients. Because they work with radiation and radioactive material, radiation therapists must follow safety procedures to make sure that they are not exposed to a potentially harmful amount of radiation. These procedures usually require therapists to stand in a different room while the patient undergoes radiation procedures.

Question
#7 of 17

Can you explain to me how radiation therapy kills cancer cells?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA. It can either damage the DNA directly or create charged particles within the cells that will in turn damage the DNA. However, it is important that the radiation only be delivered to cancer cells because normal cells can be damaged too.
 
2.
Radiation kills cells that are damaged by cancer so that they cannot divide and spread keeping them localized.
 
3.
What radiation does is it targets the DNA of cells and induces damage that way and it works in two ways. It can damage the DNA to promote cell killing and it can damage the DNA to prevent stop DNA replication so that the cancer cells do not multiply.
 
4.
Radiation therapy targets dividing cells, majority of them in M phase and damages their DNA. When this has been damaged, cells are unable to divide and are killed.
 
5.
Radiotherapy works by damaging the DNA inside the tumor cells, destroying their ability to reproduce. It uses high-energy particles to destroy or damage cancer cells.
 
6.
High levels of radiation interact with the cancer cell DNA causing cellular death.
 
7.
Radiation therapy targets the tumor cells and destroys there ability to reproduce.
 
8.
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA (the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next). Radiation therapy can either damage DNA directly or create charged particles (free radicals) within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die. When the damaged cells die, they are broken down and eliminated by the body’s natural processes.
 
9.
The ionising radiation kills cancer cells by destroying their DNA
 
10.
It destroys the DNA of the cancer cell therefor disabling its ability to reproduce.
 

Question
#8 of 17

Do you enjoy working with a team? Specifically the radiation oncologist?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Yes I love working in a team and having the support of others.
 
2.
I am very team oriented and enjoy working with others. I have always worked in a team setting from playing soccer all my life, working in a service industry, and then going through clinicals as a student. I love working with the radiation oncologist and learning new things everyday.
 
3.
Yes it increases the chance of learning new skills.
 
4.
Yes! Enjoy being part of a team that strives for giving patients hope or relive pain that is accompanied with pain.
 
5.
Yes growing up with siblings and a huge family, I feel ike you get more things done faster with more people and you learn more from them rather than you working alone.
 
6.
I enjoy teamwork. The doctor was great that I worked with.
 
7.
Yes, they always say two minds are better than one.
 
8.
Yess. I like workingnin a team especially in radiotherapy beacse diffeeent people are involved in different aspects if the patients tratment all of which the radiotion oncologist approves.
 
9.
YES! I have really enjoyed with many different people because you can learn so much from everyone.
 
10.
Yes I do, I like to work as a team in that way we can finish our task smoothly and on time.
 

Radiation Therapists Pros

1. You will be able to meet so many amazing people and see how they are coping when their lives have been turned upside down by cancer. Also, you get to help them fight cancer, something amazing that few people can say. May 30th, 2012

2. I will be able to help and assist in the treatment to help fight cancer in patients and keep them living longer. July 19th, 2012

3. The joy of being able to comfort and heal your patients. July 19th, 2012

Question
#9 of 17

How do you deal with stress?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
I am very calm and collective. I can handle any situation without getting stressed or at least showing stress.
 
2.
I just take a deep breath and concentrate on whats important and deal with it.
 
3.
I am a very logical person so I stop and think about what it is that I'm stressing about. I will make a plan to fix whatever it is that is making me stressed. If it is something beyond my control, I do whatever I can to not allow the stressor to get to me.
 
4.
When stress arises, I always take the time to stop take a deep breath and think about the problems and items that need to be accomplished. I gather all my thoughts and make an organized plan as to what is to be done and what things need to be done first.
 
5.
When im faced with a stressful situation I don't let it take control of my emotions instead I stay focused on the final goal and thinking positive always calms me down, personal motivation.
 
6.
Take a deep breath and survey the situation. Then find the best way to proceed.
 
7.
Whenever I find myself in a stressful situation I always take a step back and analyze the situation, I remember my training and run through solutions in my head considering each outcome and then act according.
 
8.
If I get too stressed I sometimes have to take a second or two to step back and take a couple deep breaths. I remind myself that life could be worse and that I need to keep a positive attitude for the sake of my patients.
 
9.
First thing i do is take a deep breath and analize the situation. if there is a solution at hand, i apply it; if there is not an immediate solution, then i wait for the right solution to come.
 
10.
Pew pew pow
 

Question
#10 of 17

How did you perform in your anatomy classes?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
I got straight A's in anatomy.
 
2.
I did quite well in my anatomy classes besides struggling a little bit with all the different muscles.
 
3.
Honestly, anatomy did not come easy for me. I am a visual learner so there were a lot of days where I would just have to piece everything together. Overall, with extra work and dedication I received a b in the course.
 
4.
I performed will in anatomy classes.
 
5.
While anatomy class was very intense I performed above average.
 
6.
Anatomy was always my strong field. The human body is truly amazing and makes it that much easier to study it. I completed my anatomy classes with above average scores.
 
7.
I performed well in anatomy classes, I enjoyed the material we learned.
 
8.
Very well, I warned merits and distinctions in all my work.
 
9.
I particularly enjoyed anatomy, and picked up the essentials well. If ever I am unsure I do not hesitate to ask and will retain the information well. I enjoy languages, so the latin seems to remain well in my memory.
 

Top 10 Radiation Therapists
Interview Questions

Our top Radiation Therapist interview questions, voted as the best, by our users. Created on February 25th, 2016

Question
#11 of 17

Did you enter Radiation Therapy for the financial benefits, or do you genuinely care about helping patients?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
When I chose this career I had no idea what the salary was. I watched a relative receive their treatment and was determined that this was what I wanted to do.
 
2.
I have an extreme desire to help and care for patients particularly cancer patients.
 
3.
My reason for choosing this career is based on a personal experience. My grandmother was the motivation in me choosing radiation therapy as a career. She lost her battle with lung cancer. I only read about the monetary benefit after I was already convinced that this is the career for me. I have always enjoyed taking care of others and after much thinking I know that the healthcare filed is where I want to be.
 
4.
I am seeking to help patients. It makes me feel good when I know I am doing something beneficial and making a difference. I would like to make their experience as positive as can be with an attitude of warmth and empathy.
 
5.
I entered radiation therapy because I genuinely care about helping patients. I knew that I wanted a career in the medical field because it involved helping to relieve suffering in individuals. I have always been a compassionate person and wanted a career that involved caring for people.
 
6.
Definitely about caring for patients. I believe by working as a radiation therapist is rewardable. You make a difference in the lives of people and it is such a noble deed being able to give someone a chance to get their life back.
 
7.
Cancer has touched most families, including my own. Having a career which is rewarding has always been important to me.
 
8.
I entered because I genuinely care. I have always been a caring and compassionate individual. I am the happiest when I can have a positive effect on another individual and make them smile.
 
9.
I genuinely care and I am passionate about patients welfare and well being.
 
10.
I genuinely care about helping patients. My grandma died of breast cancer and she was not able to be saved by the technology we benefit from today.
 

Question
#12 of 17

What is the difference between a CT and an MRI?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Basically, a CT scan is used more for bony anatomy and internal organs, while an MRI is used to view soft tissue.
 
2.
A CT exam uses radiation to obtain images and MRI does not use radiation but electromagnetic waves. CT exams are much quicker than MRI exams. Each have there benefits and downfalls.
 
3.
A CT uses kV radiation to take images and it displays the image based on the electron densities of the tissues that the xrays have passed through. An MRI uses magnetic fields and not xrays to take the image.
 
4.
Ct uses ionizing radiation and mri uses magnetic resonance for imaging. Mri is usually good at looking at soft tissues and ct is good at boney anatomy.
 
5.
Computerised tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.
 
6.
CT uses radiation for imaging where as MRI uses a magnetic resonance technology.
 
7.
CT scan uses Xray where as MRI uses magnetic resonance. Depending on what needs to be observed, the CT scan is really good for examining bones structure and density where as the MRI is good for looking at tissue.
 
8.
A ct scan give good detail about bony anatomy whereas mri gives good detail about soft tissue. mri uses strong magnetic field whereas ct scan uses radiation exposure.Mri is more versatile in examining a large variety of condition.
 
9.
CT stands for computed tomography and visualised bony anatomy well. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging and is better for viewing soft tissue.
 
10.
A CT scan are images of the skeletal structure and major organs where as an MRI is an image of the soft tissue.
 

Question
#13 of 17

How long has radiation therapy been around?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
If I remember correctly the use of radiation for treatments started around 1890s immediatly after the discovery of the potential of xrays for diagnostic imaging.
 
2.
A long time! At least since the very early 1900s. The administration techniques have changed vastly over the years and there continues to be futher developments in treatment delivery. I think this is part of what makes it such an interesting career; there is the potential for so much development and differnt studies, different technologies.
 
3.
Radiation has been around since Whilhem Rontgen discovered X-Rays in 1896
 
4.
More than 100 years with many many advances in technology.
 
5.
I must admit I do not know the exact year RT was introduced. However it is a fast developing treatment that has evolved over the years as our understanding and research has improved.
 
6.
It has been around for 0ver 100 years, practices keep evolving but the concept is not new.
 
7.
The idea of using radiation to treat cancer has been around for over 100 years, not long after the very first discovery of x-rays in 1895.
 
8.
Modern radiation therapy has been around since 1935 with technology greatly improving. But radiation has been used shortly after discovery in 1895 for lesion and diseases such as lupus and TB.
 
9.
Radiation therapy has been around for more than 100 years. Within the past few years huge advances have been made and this will continue for hundreds more years to come.
 
10.
X-rays Roentgen 1896 Early 1900s 1920s beginning of profession.
 

Question
#14 of 17

How do you handle dealing with a patient that is obviously deathly ill?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
I am a caring and loving person and willing to try to make any patient happy regardless of what the situation may be.
 
2.
You do everything you can to make them feel comfortable. You also cannot show that you are sadden by their condition, you have to stay strong for them.
 
3.
I would give them comfort and give them the chance to talk about their fears and hold their hand. I would try to make them feel like they’re the only patient being treated that day. If I was dying, I wouldn’t want to feel rushed or like I was in the way and that is the dignity I try to give to all my patients. I would try to stay positive for them and smile – I believe a smile goes a long way for these patients. I’d do everything I could to keep.
 
4.
I would treat them with dignity and try to stay positive and optomistic because we can not forsee the future so as a therapist we should be supportive and continue to care for them as we would like to be cared for if we were in their shoes.
 
5.
I try my best to make them feel comfortable despite their situation. I try to show that there are people who care for their well being.
 
6.
Support them as much as possible. Always be friendly.
 
7.
Staying positive and providing support for the patients on their good and bad days. Always listening to what they have to say.
 
8.
I still talk to them as a person who is healthy. Respect and look them in the eye. Make them feel comfortable. I feel that I don't need to remind them of the obvious.
 
9.
Get the nurse or doctor.
 
10.
Make them feel as comfortable as possible in this stressful situation, make sure I am not giving them false hope while still being as supportive as possible.
 

Question
#15 of 17

Tell me about your education. Do you feel well prepared for this career?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Yes, I have had much education throughout my years and I feel ready to advance.
 
2.
Yes I feel I am well prepared for this career. I applied last year straight out of school but did not get accepted, so I took the pathway of doing health science to get in. I feel this course has helped me grow immensely in both knowledge of the body but also the clinical setting.
 
3.
I was very fortunate to be trained at the best facilities in my home town. It prepared me to be aware of what it is out there.
 
4.
The Mohawk-Mcmaster program taught be a broard range of subjects through my courses in radiobiology, medical physics, anatomy,patient care, treatment planning, and skills. Classroom formats were very interactive which promoted a team atmosphere.
 
5.
Yes I have been volunteering in a radiation oncology office weekly and I have also been taking science classes to help me have a better understanding of the human body and its background.
 
6.
I feel like i am a blank canvas. As a student you do a lot of watching along with hands on education on how to set a patient up. but every clinic or hospital has their own technique. I feel prepared but im more excited and eager to start my career
 
7.
Yes i redo feel very weel prepared for this career.
 
8.
I feel very prepared from a technical standpoint, I do realize there is a lot to learn that can only be attained though experience.
 
9.
I learned a lot during my later high school years, especially in the Science area, doing Physics, Biology and Chemistry, all of which I found interesting and challenging in most cases. I think tha
 
10.
I think that I already prepare for this career. I did learn the prerequisite before apply.I think with knowledge about science, I can study well.
 

Question
#16 of 17

When did you realize you wanted to be a radiation therapist?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
I realized it when I lost a loved who was very close to me to cancer and I wanted to be able to help people.
 
2.
I was looking online for a good career and the more I read about what you do and how much you help people, the more interested I was.
 
3.
When I lost my aunt to cancer.
 
4.
I ralized I wante t be a radiation therapist when my mother was affecetd by cancer and I felt helpless.
 
5.
When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
 
6.
I spent a lot of time considering professions in the medical field. I researched and found this field. My family has lost many to cancer and I wanted to help others.
 
7.
I had a bad situation as a patient once. The tech treated me like an object instead of a person. I knew at that exact moment I wanted to go into the medical field so I could make sure that there would be less people treated like I was. I want to always show the patient they are a person. I will always treat them with compassion and a smile.
 
8.
Lost a family member to cancer.
 
9.
Interest in health sciences.
 
10.
I still talk to them as a person who is healthy. Respect and look them in the eye. Make them feel comfortable. I feel that I don't need to remind them of the obvious.
 

Question
#17 of 17

Describe how you observe a patient for unintended radiation consequences?

User Submitted Interview Answers

1.
Ask them how they are doing / if they've noticed any changes. Assess the problem, source of problem, how many treatments they've had, timing and severity of problems.
 
2.
The most important thing I can do is listen to the patient. As we build rapport, I am usually the first person they will tell about unusual symptoms. I will always check for weight loss, especially if they are wearing a mask as an immobilization device because it will fit differently. I will also check for skin changes and if the patient is not verbal, I will make sure to ask if they observe unusual effects at least once or twice a week.
 
3.
Checking in frequently is important and monitoring any obvious physical changes. Listening to the patient helps me to get a better understand of how they’re feeling if something is wrong if I can’t see it myself. Doing frequent tests will keep me updated if anything changes for the worse.
 
4.
I would look them over while I was setting them up. I would ask how they were feeling on a day to day basis while seeing them for treatments.
 
5.
I respect every person and I would not treat them any different.
 
6.
Ask patient at every treatment if he is feeling unwell. Observe if there are any unwanted side effects.
 
7.
I don't understand this question.
 
8.
Checking the skin for any damage caused by the radiation beam, asking the patient if they're having any side effects at home (ie nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
 
9.
Checking in frequently is important and monitoring any obvious physical changes. Listening to the patient helps me to get a better understand of how they’re feeling if something is wrong if I can’t see it myself. Doing frequent tests will keep me updated if anything changes for the worse.
 
10.
I keep an eye on all patients because all people react differently to radiation. Burns need to be seriously observed because it can be extremely harmful. Creams can be given with in depth instructions and if it gets worse I need to alert the oncologist so he can take a look and decide if a break in treatment is necessary.