If you have a keen interest in a people orientated career incorporating the health sciences and computer technology why not consider a career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist?
[Nuclear Medicine is a diagnostic medical imaging and treatment speciality. It combines elements of applied anatomy and physiology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computing with patient care skills.
A wide variety of people would be suited to a career as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. The most important factor is an ability to work and communicate well with people. While knowledge of science obviously plays an essential part practical skills including patient care and interpersonal skills are equally important.
What does a Clinical Technologist in Nuclear Medicine do?
The precise roles of the Nuclear Medicine Technologist vary in different departments but can include:
• The preparation and/or administration of the radioactive tracers (radiopharmaceuticals).
• Obtaining the images using an imaging machine called a gamma camera.
• Gaining the patient’s trust, explaining the procedure, answering the patient’s questions and obtaining additional information from the patient relevant to the procedure.
• Monitoring and reassuring the patient during the procedures – this may involve specialised skills when working with children.
• Processing the acquired images using sophisticated, but generally easy to use, computer software.
• Presenting the processed images and any additional information obtained from the patient to either a Nuclear Medicine Physician or Radiologist.
How do I train?
There are two main routes to qualification as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist.
One route is via a BSc in Clinical Technology with specialisation in Nuclear Medicine during the degree. This is combined with training based upon formal practical experience in Nuclear Medicine, covering the competencies listed in the Training Prospectus for Nuclear Medicine. This would take four years (part-time degree).
Another route is to take a BSc in Radiography, which takes three years, and then specialise in Nuclear Medicine, after first qualifying as a Radiographer. Practical experience can be obtained by working in a Nuclear Medicine department with an option to take a postgraduate qualification, an additional minimum of two years.
If you have a degree in another subject, it is still possible to work in nuclear medicine by taking a postgraduate degree.
Ann Tweddel 2010