Nuclear Medicine Technologists Job Description

The Nuclear Medicine Technologist diagnosis ailments by the use of nuclear medicine, the use of radionuclides, unstable atoms that emit radiation spontaneously.

Primary Objectives:

  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist administers radiopharmaceuticals to patients.
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist monitor the characteristics and functions of tissues or organs in which the drug where administered and localized.
  • The Nuclear Medicine Technologist is able to determine the nature of the disease on the basis of metabolic changes rather than the changes in organ structure.
  • The Nuclear Medicine Technologist usually completes a four year course in Nuclear Medicine earning a Bachelor’s Degree, along with being certified in order to practice their profession.

About two-thirds of Nuclear Medicine Technologist works in hospitals because that is where it is the safest to handle the nuclear medicine required to do the testing. There are certain labs and medical centers that are geared to hire Nuclear Medicine Technologist but not many. The profession does pose some dangers without the right equipment it could be hazardous to the Nuclear Medicine Technologist. The diagnostic imaging embraces several procedures that aid in diagnosing ailments, the most familiar being the X-Ray. In nuclear medicine, radionuclides, which are unstable atoms that emit radiation spontaneously are used to diagnosis and treat disease. Radionuclides are purified and compounded to form radiopharmaceuticals. Nuclear Medicine Technologist administers radiopharmaceuticals to patients and then monitors the characteristics and functions of tissues or organs in which the drugs localize. Then abnormal areas show higher than expected or lower-than-expected concentrations of radioactivity. Nuclear medicine differs from other diagnostic imaging technologies because it determines the presence of disease on the basis of metabolic changes rather than changes in organ structure.

A Nuclear Medicine Technologists operate cameras that detect and map the radioactive drug in a patient’s body to create diagnostic images. After explaining test procedures to patients, Nuclear Medicine Technologists must prepare a dosage of the radiopharmaceutical and administer it by mouth, injection, inhalation, or other means. They position patients and start a gamma scintillation camera, or scanner, which creates images of the distribution of radiopharmaceutical as it localizes in, emits signals from, the patient’s body. The images are produced on a computer screen or on film for a physician to interpret. When preparing radiopharmaceuticals, Nuclear Medicine Technologists adhere to safety standards that keep the radiation exposure as low as possible to workers and patients. Nuclear Medicine Technologists keep patient records and documents the amount and type of radionuclides that they receive, use and discard. Physical stamina is important because Nuclear Medicine Technologists are on their feet much of the day and may have to lift or turn disabled patients. In addition, Nuclear Medicine Technologists must operate complicated equipment that mechanical ability and manual dexterity.

There is a high potential for radiation exposure in this field, it is minimized by the use of shielded syringes, gloves, and other protective devices and by adherence to strict radiation safety guidelines. The amount of radiation in a Nuclear Medicine Technologist is comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray procedure. Nuclear Medicine Technologists also must wear a badge that measure radiation levels. The badge measurements rarely exceed established safety levels because of all the safety programs put into place. The Nuclear Medicine Technologist usually works a forty hour week and because of this demanding schedule it is very important that all safety procedures are kept in place all of the time. Normally, there are no problems for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist and they receive regular check-ups to make sure that the nuclear meds are not affecting them in any manner.

The equipment is made to be very secure and it does not cause any problems for the Nuclear Medicine Technologist or the patient. The work is not hard but it does have cause for someone who is able to do heavy lifting because the patient might be heavy and disabled. Most hospitals usually have two full time Nuclear Medicine Technologists and one part-time one. In larger hospitals there might be more working Nuclear Medicine Technologists. The staff depends on the size of the hospital and the amount of equipment available. There is a high demand for Nuclear Medicine Technologists in the job market.

Degrees and Training to Become a Nuclear Medicine Technologist

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