Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Pros


  • This is a good job for those who like to help people, as you will be working with the sick or injured in helping to diagnose their medical problems.
  • This is type of work would interest those who find science, especially anatomy and chemistry, an interesting subject.
  • Job growth in the field is expected to be very good, and there will be many positions available.

Cons

  • Because this type of work requires using radiological materials, there is some danger of being exposed to these elements.
  • This type of work will require one to stand on their feet for the majority of the day.
  • You must be a good communicator to have this job. You will need to explain to patients procedures so they have some understanding of what is happening.

Overview

Nuclear medicine technologists work with patients using very special diagnostic equipment, primarily to find problems that may be located in soft tissue areas of the body such as internal organs. This is done by using radiopharmaceuticals. These drugs are given to a patients for consumption and within a set period of time a nuclear medicine technologist is then able to track the small amounts of radioactivity that are emitted within the body.

The work that nuclear medicine technologists perform encompasses the entire procedure of radiological imaging. They will prepare radiopharmaceuticals for patient and keep an accurate record of the dosages administered. They operate a special diagnostic device known as a gamma scintillation camera that creates an image that can show the radiological emissions that are coming from the radiopharmaceuticals that have settled into a patients’ body. These images are then used to create special maps that are used to further analyze and diagnose to come up with methods of treatment for a patient.

Nuclear medicine technologists work with potentially dangerous materials. Because of this, they must pay very close attention to details. In order to protect themselves, they will use special syringes to administer radiopharmaceuticals as well as wear special gloves and clothing. They must also be good with manual dexterity tasks in order to operate the equipment they are using because the machinery often requires a steady hand. Although most nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals, they can also be found in private medical clinics or special diagnostic services that often travel from one medical facility to the next.

Education

There are several methods to obtain the training to enter this field. This can range from hospital certificate programs, community college curriculums, and four year degrees that are offered by universities. Often times, the hospital certificate programs are for those who have already completed a medical diagnostic degree of some sort. The courses that are offered in these programs offer a wide range of topics that can include anatomy, radiation protection techniques and computer applications. About half of states require that nuclear medicine technologists become properly certified in order to work.

Job Prospects

Those wishing to enter the field as a nuclear medicine technologist can expect good prospects in the future as job growth will be very good. Despite this fact, one who wants the best job opportunities should plan on continuing their education as there is a good supply of nuclear medicine technologists already in the workforce. Many of these workers are not up to speed on the latest technological advances in the occupation

Advancement Opportunities

Those who have gained significant work experience can expect a good amount of advancement opportunities. This can also be helped if one has also obtained an advanced degree. Many in this field become supervisors or chief technologists, guiding other nuclear medicine technologists on their day-to-day activities. Others will learn through continuing education special skills that can also allow them to advance.