Nuclear Medicine Technologists Career Video
Description: Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies using a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
The work of nuclear medicine technologists revolves around tiny particles of matter called “radionuclides.” The particles are used in solutions that the technologist prepares and administers to patients, under the direction of a doctor. The technologist also operates equipment that tracks these particles as they move through organs or different parts of the body, and records images of how the particles appear. The resulting images can be used to diagnose a patient’s condition and to guide a course of treatment. Because they are working with radioactive materials, nuclear medicine technologists must follow strict safety procedures, including wearing a device to detect unintended exposure to radiation. They also explain test procedures to patients, so good communication skills are important. Nuclear medicine technologists most often work in hospitals; a few work in laboratories. Most work full-time, possibly on nights and weekends when needed. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology is usually required to enter this field. Some states require licensure, and some employers require certification. Often, these technologists seek additional training to handle other kinds of medical imaging procedures. In every case, they combine knowledge and precision with technology— to help the patient get the best possible outcome.