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  • Rhode Island Hospital School of Diagnostic Imaging Nuclear Medicine Technology Program

  • About Nuclear Medicine

  • Nuclear medicine, which includes molecular imaging, is a modality that utilizes very small amounts of radioactive materials to diagnose and treat various diseases. An estimated 16 million nuclear medicine imaging and therapeutic procedures are performed each year. The nuclear medicine technologist is an allied health professional who, under the direction of an authorized user, is committed to applying their skill of diagnostic evaluation and therapeutics through the safe and effective use of radionuclides. There are approximately 4,000 board certified nuclear medicine physicians and 15,700 certified nuclear medicine technologists worldwide.

    The Nuclear Medicine Technologist

    The nuclear medicine technologist is able to:

    • Conduct patient interviews to obtain pertinent history, describe procedure and answer questions
    • Provide appropriate patient care and comfort
    • Apply knowledge of radiation physics and safety regulations to limit radiation exposure of the general public, patient, fellow worker and self
    • Perform quality control on various instruments
    • Prepare, calculate and administer radiopharmaceuticals, radionuclides and pharmaceuticals as permitted
    • Perform a variety of nuclear medicine imaging procedures including computer processing and image enhancement
    • Assist with a variety of therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures
    • Exercise independent judgment to evaluate images for appropriate quality and take additional views if necessary
    • Practice effective oral communication skills with patients, co-workers, physicians and support staff
    • Provide images, data analysis, and patient information to the physician for diagnostic interpretation

    A typical workday may find the nuclear medicine technologist:

    • Obtaining a patient history for a bone scan
    • Administering radioactive doses to patient through injection, oral capsule, ingestion or inhalation
    • Assisting with a treadmill or pharmacologic stress test on a cardiac patient
    • Imaging the brain of a patient with symptoms of dementia
    • Presenting a parathyroid scan to the radiologist for review

    The nuclear medicine technologist should exhibit professionalism in the performance of these duties, demonstrate an empathetic and instructional approach to patient care and have the knowledge and expertise to provide quality scans. Professional growth and development is achieved through participation in medical and technical education.

    For additional information, please visit the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at www.snm.org.

    Career Opportunities

    The majority of nuclear medicine technologists are employed at hospitals and outpatient imaging facilities. Some areas of advancement/specialization include:

    • education
    • hospital administration
    • computed tomography
    • magnetic resonance imaging
    • bone densitometry
    • research
    • quality management
    • industry sales
    • technical specialists
    • radiologic technology
    • sonography and vascular sonography