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August 11, 2017

Advanced certification awarded to JCC radiation therapist

A Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) medical radiation therapist is among the first in Canada to receive certification as an Advanced Practice Registered Technologist (APRT). This new position is a hybrid of a radiation therapist, radiation oncologist and physicist.

Lilian Doerwald-Munoz was certified in June, after completing a pilot project through the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. She’s one of only three medical radiation therapists in Canada to receive this certification. The other two work at Toronto area hospitals.

“It was an honour to be selected for this pilot and I look forward to introducing this new designation to the JCC through my work there,” said Doerwald-Munoz, who specializes in radiation treatment for head and neck cancers.

Benefits to patients include the same high-quality care with increased access to care and decreased wait times for certain procedures, said Marcia Smoke, Manager of Radiation Therapy at the JCC. “There is tremendous excitement in our profession as this is a dream come true for the vision of the future of our practice.”

Radiation therapists plan treatments, prepare accessories, assess patients and operate machines that deliver radiation therapy by directing high-energy x-rays at specific cancer cells to shrink or remove them. An advanced practitioner’s role expands to also include patient assessment and symptom management, consultation, and planning and approving treatments.

The certification process took two years and included a four-hour oral exam by an expert panel of radiation oncologists, physicists and medical radiation therapists.

The pilot was offered in Ontario, and participants were credited by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists for contributing to the learnings for the Association as it prepares to launch the certification process nationally. Other partners credited for making this new designation possible included Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology and the Canadian Organization of Medical Physicists.