Nuclear physicians are usually based in a university or hospital, or both, and have limited involvement in direct patient care. Nuclear Medicine physicians participate in the intellectual challenge presented in assisting with the formulation of patient diagnoses and treatment wherever indicated. This specialty offers clinical variety, freedom to conduct research and make original observations.
The nuclear medicine technologist is a highly specialized healthcare professional who works closely with the nuclear medicine physician. Some of the technologist’s primary responsibilities are to: Prepare and administer radioactive chemical compounds, known as radiopharmaceuticals and to administer adjunctive medications in order to perform patient imaging procedures using sophisticated instrumentation; Process data and enhance digital images using advanced computer technology; Provide images, data analysis, and patient information to the physician for diagnostic interpretation; and Evaluate new procedures for appropriateness in specific clinical settings and patient populations.
A nuclear pharmacist specializes in the procurement, compounding, quality control testing, dispensing, distribution, and monitoring of radiopharmaceuticals. They also provide consultation regarding health and safety issues as well as the use of non-radioactive drugs and patient care.
Nuclear medicine physicists and scientists are experts in the interactions between ionizing radiation and matter, nuclear imaging instrumentation and radiation dosimetry. They typically also have expertise in image processing and computer science.