A nuclear medicine technologist mostly works with medical equipment. The equipment includes positron emission tomography (PET) scans and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans. The equipment will help doctors diagnose diseases, while a nuclear medicine technologist prepares and administers radiopharmaceuticals before performing the tests.
Many people get confused between a Nuclear Medicine Technologist and a Radiologic Technologist. In fact, Nuclear Medicine Technologist’s hospital jobs are a bit different from radiologic technologists. It detects abnormalities in how organs function. On the other hand, radiologic technologists use other imagining technologies to assess how organs look.
If you are interested to become a nuclear medicine technologist, you better earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology. Then, complete a 12 month certificate program in nuclear medicine technology.
So, what kind of hospital jobs that you will be performing? In general, there are several main jobs that you are responsible for, such as follows:
- Calculate, measure and record radiation dosage or radiopharmaceuticals received, used and disposed, using computer and following physicians’ prescription.
- Detect and map radiopharmaceuticals in patients’ bodies, using a camera to produce photographic or computer images.
- Explain test procedures and safety precautions to patients and provide them with assistance during test procedures.
- Administer radiopharmaceuticals or radiation to patients to detect or treat diseases, using radioisotope equipment, under direction of physician.
- Produce a computer-generated or film image for interpretation by a physician.
In Australia, the annual salary of nuclear medicine technologist, updated in 24 March 2017 is AU$57,875-AU$104,520. While the hourly rate is AU$27.60 – AU$53.36, the salary will vary depend on location and experience.
Because you will work with nuclear medicine equipment, certain risks such as radiation are inherent in this occupation. Moreover, this job is physically demanding and will expose you to infectious diseases. Therefore, you need to be ready, physically and mentally, but those who like to work in detailed and accurately will love this job.