Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guest Post: Job Outlook for Radiologists During the Recession

Guest Blog Post:
Job Outlook for Radiologists During the Recession

There are some jobs that are seen as recession-proof; no matter how badly the economy is doing, these jobs are always available as they are the ones that satisfy the basic needs of people. Medicine is one such discipline where the layoffs are not going to be as bad as they are in other fields. But even though the International Labor Organization (ILO) predicts that over 20 million jobs, in construction, retail, financial services, and the automobile industry, will be lost in the year 2009, the healthcare industry is expected to do well because the need for skilled and qualified nurses, doctors, therapists, psychologists, medical assistants, and other medical personnel is not going to decrease.

But are radiologists and their jobs secured too? If we look at the radiology field as an extension of medicine, at first glance, we would think that the job prospects for these imaging technicians are good and that they don’t need to worry too much, recession or not. And although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment opportunities for radiologists are expected to grow faster than normal, there are warnings that all is not well in this industry.

Doctors may not be out of a job, but with hospitals facing financial setbacks, they have been forced to reduce the salaries of their staff. Besides this pay cut, radiologists are the ones who are likely to bear the brunt of the cascade effect that the layoffs in other sectors have set off. With people being out of a job or on reduced salaries, they’re not going to see their doctors as often as they did before. And even if they did, they’re not filling out their prescriptions.

While they may take the medicines prescribed, they’re going to forgo scans and other costly imaging procedures, especially if they’re really not necessary at the present and if they’ve lost their insurance and have to pay for the tests themselves. And those with insurance will opt not to cover radiologic procedures in their plan if it means higher deductibles because they’re trying to reduce spending more money than they absolutely have to. And this in turn means that radiologists will have less to do, and will eventually have to face the possibility of a pay cut, or worse, a layoff.

If patients are allowed to choose to have imaging procedures at a later date, they are going to defer, and the ones that are forced to undergo the tests because of their medical circumstances will build up the bad debt in a radiology practice. As hospitals and other healthcare facilities come to terms with this bleak outlook, radiologists can look on the bright side and take up a course related to their job; preferably something in the medical sector that will allow them to continue in the same field until the economy starts looking up. The additional qualification will give them a competitive edge both during the recession and after it.


This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of radiology tech schools at her blog The Heath Tech's Blog. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: katsanders25@gmail.com.

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