work description: Medical Physicist (radiation therapy)
Working knowledge of ionizing radiation interactions with matter.
General knowledge of linear accelerators. Human anatomy including
radiation dose tolerances of various organs.
Computer literacy (networking, mild programing, multi platform environment)
specific retraining for physicists
how long 2 years
how much full time
licensing/degrees Board certification by either American Board of
Medical Physicists, or the American Board of Radiology
resources on web:
journals with ads: Journal of Medical Physics
Annual meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine
relevant placement agencies:
AAPM Placement Service (203)545-3786
list of specific places one can apply to
Joint Center for Radiation Therapy
300 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Netherlands Cancer Institute
Malinkrodt Cancer Center
St. Louis, MO
Stanford University Hospital
Palo Alto, CA
what sort of person could one ask to find out more about career, what
could one read, if one didn't know anyone personally in this field?
is there anyone specific to ask?
Find a medical physicist in the department of radiation therapy
or neuclear medicine or diagostic radiology in any large teaching
1) The physics of radiology Johns and Cunningham
2) The physics of radiation therapy Khan
Home page at harvard ?
goals, aims of work
Provide physics resource to treatment planners, physicians to enable
quality treatment of cancer patients. Responsible for quality
assurance program for linear accelerators, brachy therapy programs,
treatment planning software, etc. Sometimes must serve as radiation
safety officer. In research institutions, responsible for research
(development) of technologies to improve treatment quality, safety,
and efficiency. Some interaction with patients when physicians or
therapists need consult to plan a patient's treatment.
what sorts of things do people do all day?
Check patient treatment plans for quality and consistancy
Maintain documnetation of treatment procedures and machine
Conduct research in applicable areas.
what kinds of backgrounds,training do people in the field have?
Ph.D. in physics or related fields.
how many people one interacts with daily, long term
how many doing similar things, how many doing others
Depends on size of department, but interaction is essential to
producing a good product for the patient.
is there a community-if so, who is in it,
local/international, very specialized, what do they consider
their role to be for people in it, in the world at large?
hours presumably 40h/week but more like 50
flexibility usually very flexible except that the clinic must have
coverage during working hours.
location-- World wide
how much travelling
how much moving within same career to different jobs
how much colleagues moving around
not too much
how much turnover
low in good places
is there a standard career track with some sort of security at end?
Historically, job security has been very good. Health system changes
may challenge this feeling.
what does person getting most respect and encouragement/prestige in this job
look like? ideal person for this i.e. type of person best suited for this?
types of people who will have a hard time if they want to do this?
intraverts, bad communicators
is a need for this sort of job going to grow, or are they retrenching,
or is it unclear?
Declining need due to more physicists entering the field
401k, 403b etc
best things about it:
get to do some good for some sick people
worst things about it:
can't always save a childs life.
(from D. Gladstone)