Nuclear medicine technologists are educated and trained professionals in the field of nuclear medicine technology. They perform an array of duties and have a number of responsibilities as well.
Nuclear medicine technology incorporates the use of small amounts of radioactive materials known as, radiopharmaceuticals, in order to create images of organs using highly technical machinery to scan parts of the body that a patient is complaining about. These radiopharmaceuticals can be administered to patients either intravenously, orally, or by inhalation before the imaging procedure begins. The doses of radioactive drugs are low making it safe for patients to ingest. The images that are created help medical professionals to view the functions of specific organs, body functions, and biological specimens as well as be able to treat diseases. This is due to the radiation being emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals concentrating on a specific organ or organ system. The radiation emitted causes the problem areas to look differently on the monitor than the normal areas do; thus, making it possible for doctors to be able to determine the cause of a certain problem based on the functions of the organ, tissue, or bone and be able to treat it properly. Tumors can easily be seen in organs during an imaging scan due to their concentration of the radioactive drugs. In short, these radioactive drugs produce a radiation which allows special scanners to view tissue and organ function including being able to locate any visible tumors.
There are an array of duties and responsibilities nuclear medicine technologists may have, such as but are not limited to; the preparation of radioactive drugs which are then administered to patients who are undergoing imaging scans, perform the organ-imaging procedure itself in order to create computer images of various areas of the patients body, follow safety guidelines to help protect the patient and themselves from too much exposure to radiation, checking machinery and making sure they are up to current standards and properly working, explaining the imaging process to patients as well as answer any of their questions in order to ensure they are comfortable during the imaging procedure, monitor patients for any unusual reactions they may have to the radioactive drugs, and keep detailed records of all nuclear medicine procedures.
Technologists must use gloves and other protective measures in order to minimize the potential for radiation hazards. They wear badges which measure the radiation levels in the radiation area in order to protect patients, other health care workers, and themselves. Their jobs also consist of being on their feet for long periods of time as well as some heavy lifting due to having to lift or turn patients who are disabled. Technologists also usually only work with adult patients; however, nuclear medicine procedures may be done on children as well.
There are many nuclear medicine technologist jobs available, especially if a technologist becomes certified in positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear cardiology (NCT), or computed tomography (CT). There are also traveling nuclear medicine technologist jobs availablefor those who enjoy traveling as well as being able to make money in a career they love. Several nuclear medicine technologist jobs are available in hospitals, medical clinics, and research centers all over the United States and abroad. Traveling nuclear medicine technologist jobs may consist of being flown to another country to assist doctors who may not have and technologists available to them nearby. The use of nuclear medicine technology has grown significantly and becoming more popular due to the continued advances in medical technology. As the medical technology advances, the need for nuclear medicine technologists will continue to rise.