Nuclear Medicine School
Nuclear Medicine General Course InformationThe course curriculum taught in programs offered through nuclear medicine schools will vary by degree option; however, there are some courses which are absolutely instrumental to the profession as a whole, including the study of human anatomy; radiation safety, employment, and effects; as well as techniques and computer technology as it pertains to the scope of nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine programs are extremely in-depth and require a great deal of diligence, interpretation, and dedication to the practice of nuclear medicine.
All of the nuclear medicine degree choices of this profession have the potential to be taken in online format. Many nuclear medicine schools are now beginning to offer courses online as a more convenient approach to learning the complexities of this career. The only portion of the course that cannot be taken online would be the clinical component because of the hands-on nature of the course.
Human AnatomyOne of the most important classes offered by nuclear medicine technologist schools is the study of human anatomy. Learning about human anatomy includes understanding and being able to identify the major systems of the body, including the muscular, skeletal, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproduction, and nervous system. It is important for a nuclear medicine technologist to have a firm grasp of the anatomical structures and their relationship to diagnostics.
Nuclear Medicine and InstrumentationA nuclear medicine and instrumentation course offered by nuclear medicine schools is designed to give students an overview of nuclear medicine, the instruments and technology used, and the function of these applications as they apply to the medical field. Nuclear medicine is used in many aspects of imaging of the organs and body structures, so it is imperative that you understand how nuclear medicine can be used to confirm or deny diseases and ailments affecting these organs and structures.
Learning how to use your tools and resource appropriately will give you a much better understanding of how to be successful as a nuclear medicine technologist. Not only do you need to understand the science behind this type of medicine, but you also need to understand how technology is used to make your job the reality that it is.
RadiopharmaceuticalsThis course will effectively teach you how to understand and apply the process of radiopharmaceuticals as they relate to the human body. Radiopharmaceuticals are contrast materials that become attracted to organs, bones, and tissues once inserted into the body. Most of time radiopharmaceuticals are injected intravenously, but they can also be given orally and inhaled. Once a substance of this material enters the body, it produces an effect on the anatomical structures and emanates a gamma ray. That gamma ray can then be seen as a photographic image on a computer screen.
The use of radiopharmaceuticals is the main function of a nuclear medicine technologist and, therefore, makes this class extremely important. Because of the use of radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine, CT scans and MRIs can help to diagnose conditions that otherwise wouldn’t be noticeable without surgical procedures.
Analytical SkillsNuclear medicine programs help students hone their analytical skills. Having good analytical skills is a major part of this profession. The job of a nuclear medicine technologist will ask you to use scientific and chemical information to make an informed diagnosis of a condition based on these factors. Building scientific knowledge in this arena is an absolute must. However, the scope of this job also requires you to be able to take the information that you have and apply it accordingly. In order to do this, a student must be taught how to think in a critical and analytical manner.
Patient CarePatient care will possibly be the largest aspect of you job. Every time that a procedure or image is ordered by an attending physician, you will need to interact with the patient. It will be your job to explain the procedure to the patient so that he or she is informed about what you are doing and how this process will help to diagnosis his or her condition.
In addition, you will also be responsible for collecting any past medical history background information on the patient. A patient’s past medical history is absolutely crucial to helping the science of nuclear medicine to work effectively. Certain surgical factors and disease conditions could potentially produce a false-positive affect on an imaging scan, and it is important to know these factors so that they can be accounted for when you are reviewing an image.
Clinical InternshipNuclear medicine schools require that all students complete a 12-month internship with an accredited or affiliated organization. Clinical internships will give you hands-on experience and will show you how to apply what you have learned from your textbooks. Working under a licensed nuclear medicine technologist will also give you the benefit of seeing first hand how nuclear medicine works in a clinical environment.
References:Bureau of Labor and Statistics,
The Michener Institute,
Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology,