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MEDICAL PHYSICIST

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Compensation

Competitive compensation package

Flex Benefit Program

Union

Non-Union Exempt Employee (NUEE)

Education

Medical physics masters or PhD

Accredited residency program or equivalent

What does this job look like at AHS?

Medical physicists are scientific professionals with specialized training in the medical applications of physics. Their work often involves the use of x-rays, ultrasound, radioisotopes, magnetic and electric fields in diagnosis and therapy. Medical physics is based on the scientific principles of the interaction between radiation and the human body. Most medical physicists work in cancer treatment facilities, hospital diagnostic imaging departments or hospital-based research establishments. Others work in government, industry and universities.

Medical physics is divided into two main areas; radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy radiation in the treatment of cancer. Medical physicist roles in radiation therapy would include treatment planning using external radiation or internal radioactive sources, radiotherapy machine design, equipment calibration and commissioning, quality management, testing and troubleshooting. Diagnostic imaging physicists are involved in the use of ultrasound, x-ray, magnetic resonance, and nuclear medicine for imaging patients. Machine purchasing and installation, quality control and testing, and radiation safety are some of the roles of a medical physicist.

Medical physicists in both diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy are often involved in clinical consultation; research and development; and teaching. Medical physicists play a central role in the design and construction of radiotherapy treatment equipment and imaging equipment. They also participate in the development of new imaging and treatment techniques. Many medical physicists teach in graduate and undergraduate medical physics and physics programs. Medical physicists are also commonly affiliated with universities.

Medical physicists are responsible for providing and performing quality service that result in the effective, efficient and safe delivery of radiation for patient diagnosis and treatment following established standards and practices defined by the CCPM (Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine) and HPA (Health Professions Act).

Medical physicists work at cancer centers, hospitals, health centers, clinics and other healthcare facilities. They work with a variety of other health care staff, including radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, technologists, physicians and nurses in order to provide patients with the best care. A medical physicist is part of an inter-professional team that includes inpatient staff, cancer care and allied health professionals. Medical physicists may work full-time or part-time hours. They can apply for positions that are permanent or temporary depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules may include a combination of day, evening and weekend shifts, as well as on-call duty.

Medical physicists may be required to bend, reach and lift equipment during the course of their work. Medical physicists can also be exposed to radiation, body fluids and biohazardous materials while doing their jobs. At times, they may work in challenging or stressful circumstances, such as in an emergency situation.

To learn more visit Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS).

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