Who is a Medical Physicist    

A medical Physicist (MP) also known as a radiological physicist is a professional who applies concepts, knowledge and techniques of physics for human healthcare. Medical physicists are largely engaged in two areas of healthcare namely applications of ionizing radiation in imaging and therapy. Their main domains of activity are: clinical service and consultation, teaching, and R&D. At senior levels medical physicists are also involved in administrative and related organizational management activities.


As part of clinical service and consultations in radiation oncology, the medical physicists collaborate with radiation oncologists in designing treatment plans for patients, measurement and characterization of radiation,and establish quality assurance protocols to monitor the radiotherapy equipment/procedures to ensure safe and accurate dose delivery to the cancer patients. They help in improving the effectiveness of radiological and nuclear medicine imaging techniques while assuring radiological safety. Medical Physics teaching comprises significant component of PG courses (MD/DNB) in radiation oncology, nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology, in addition to the paramedical courses in Radiotherapy Technology and Radiography.It is the responsibility of medical physicists to provide assistance to other healthcare professional in optimizing the benefit and hazards of radiation.


Qualifications to become a Medical Physicist in India

To become a qualified medical physicist the qualifications are: MSc (Physics) followed by a Diploma in Radiological Physics/Medical Physics (DipRP/DipMP) Or MSc (Medical Physics/Medical Radiation Physics). The academic qualification has to be compulsorily followed by one year internship in an Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) recognized radiotherapy centre.To further qualify as a Radiological Safety Officer (RSO) in a radiotherapy centre, a medical physicist has to pass the AERB conducted examination for RSO after successful completion of internship. Starting with Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai with the DipRP course in 1962, today there are about 17 universities offering the medical physics courses to meet the increasing requirement. Of late more and more medical physicists are acquiring PhD degrees to improve their career prospects.


Professional Status

In most of the medical institutions medical physicists are posted as teaching faculty or scientists or specialists/consultants depending upon the activity of the institution/centre and experience of the MPs. Medical Council of India(MCI) recognizes the subject as a teaching specialty in medical colleges. However, due to lack of awareness among administrators at some teaching institutions,medical physicists are not posted in faculty positions or position commensurate with their qualifications/experience. This eventually impacts the quality of medical physics support on a long term at such centres. In India majority of medical physicists are working in the field of radiation oncology with some in nuclear medicine and diagnostic radiology.






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