Feature | December 21, 2012

Radiation Therapy Vacancy Rates Decline in 2012

December 21, 2012 — Vacancy rates for radiation therapists declined in 2012, according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists’ (ASRT) 2012 Radiation Therapy Staffing & Workplace Survey.

Survey results showed that the vacancy rate for radiation therapists fell to 2.1 percent in 2012, down from 3.1 percent in 2011. However, the vacancy rate for medical dosimetry rose slightly from 4.9 percent to 5.1 percent during the same period. Vacancy rates represent the percent of positions that are open and actively being recruited.

The staffing survey also provides information about the average number of full-time radiation therapists and medical dosimetrists working in medical facilities. The survey results show that the average number of medical dosimetry positions increased slightly from 2.1 per facility in 2011 to 2.5 in 2012. However, the average number of full-time radiation therapists has remained at 7.4 per facility since 2011.

In addition to staffing and vacancy information, ASRT asked respondents about facility and personnel demographics, equipment use and their facility’s radiation therapy tattooing practices.

More than 53 percent of respondents indicated their facility has a documented procedure for tattooing patients, and most said their facility uses a non-sterile marker to mark patients prior to tattooing. Nearly half of respondents said their facility uses a hand-held needle to tattoo patients, while others said they use a gauged needle, lancet or syringe. When asked what type of ink they use for tattooing, more than 70 percent of respondents indicated their facilities use non-sterile ink.

The ASRT conducts staffing surveys each year, alternating between the medical imaging and radiation therapy practice areas, to monitor workplace and hiring trends in the radiologic sciences.

“We’ve been monitoring radiation therapy staffing trends since 2005, so we understand the challenges stakeholders face in staffing issues,” said ASRT Chief Academic Officer Myke Kudlas, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(QM), CIIP. “As a result, we hope that this data is helpful in their personnel budgeting and hiring decisions.”

On Aug. 22, 2012, ASRT emailed the survey to 3,165 managers at U.S. radiation therapy facilities. At the close of the survey on Oct. 26, 2012, 503 respondents submitted completed questionnaires.

For more information: www.asrt.org

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