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Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Job Description

What do you think of when you see the title "nuclear technologist"? Energy? Bombs? Waste? Nuclear Medicine Technologists use safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine is one of the best ways to test for and diagnose illness like cancer, kidney failure and heart disease. Nuclear medicine technologists administer very small amounts of radioactive materials (not dangerous!) into the patient and gamma cameras that work with computers provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged.

A Nuclear Medicine Technologist:

  • Prepares radioactive substances using proper drug preparation techniques
  • Explains the procedure to patients and answers questions
  • Prepares gamma cameras and computers
  • Provides care and support to patients during nuclear medicine procedures
  • Performs medical imaging with gamma cameras
  • Administers radiopharmaceuticals to patients
  • Monitors patients during procedures and offers comfort and emotional support
  • Performs laboratory tests with radioactive materials
  • Works in cooperation with members of a health care system

Interesting Facts

  • The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray.
  • Nuclear medicine procedures are painless and do not require anesthesia.

Working Conditions

Most nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals and clinics. They work with specialized equipment and must follow strict safety procedures. They have to interact with doctors and patients on a daily basis. The job is both physically and mentally demanding as they spend most of the time on their feet and sometimes deal with stressful situations. The technologist may work shift work and/or 24 hour on call.

Earnings

$43 000 - $50 000 per year.

Requirements

(a) Personal Characteristics

It is important for Nuclear Medicine Technologists to have good communication skills, patience and consideration for people of all ages and backgrounds. Good physical health, a sense of responsibility and careful work habits are also beneficial. Good technical skills are a must.

(b) High School

High school completion with an emphasis on English, math, physics, and chemistry is a must. Admission requirements for post-secondary should be checked carefully.

(c) Post Secondary

As of 2005, nuclear medicine technologists are required to hold a bachelors of Health Science degree in the Nuclear Medicine stream. Nuclear Medicine Technology is a 4 year degree program at Dalhousie University and includes both theory and practice.

(d) Certification

Graduates of the 4 year degree program must write national registration exams and meet the clinical competency requirements as set by the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) in order to practice. This exam is recognized in all provinces. Successful candidates then become "Registered Technologists in Nuclear Medicine" (RTNM). Before practicing in Nova Scotia, NMT's are required to obtain membership in the Nova Scotia Association of Medical Radiation Technologist (NSAMRT)

Future Prospects

According to UNB Saint John, Nuclear Medical Technologists are in great demand across North America. 100% of their recent graduates have found employment in the Nuclear Medicine community.

Related Jobs

  • Radiological Technologist (X-Ray Technologist)
  • Medical Laboratory Technologist
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapist

Resources

What Can I do Now?

  • Explore websites
  • Read testimonials (Career Cruising)
  • Interview/job shadow a Nuclear Medicine Technologist in your local area
  • Have a Nuclear Medicine Technologist come to your class/school
  • Choose the high school subjects needed to start your path to this career. Aim to achieve high grades.
  • Volunteer in health related professions.

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2007-Nov-05.

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