What they do
Nuclear medicine technologists treat diseases and diagnose health conditions using radioactive materials and diagnostic equipment. They prepare radioactive materials for injection and administer them to patients via injection, ingestion or inhalation, liaise with patients to explain the procedures, and undertake examinations. Whilst the examination is taking place they analyse tracers using diagnostic imaging equipment and computers. They also treat diseases using radioactive materials, and test equipment and tracers to ensure they are working properly.
Nuclear medicine technologists work in hospitals, medical laboratories and the radiology departments of diagnostic facilities, usually located in cities and large regional centres. They usually work regular hours, but may be on call in the case of emergencies. They are regularly in contact with radioactive materials, and therefore need to follow strict safety procedures. They work with patients, other radiology professionals, and a range of medical professionals such as doctors and nursing staff.
Tools and technologies
Nuclear medicine technologists work with radiopharmaceuticals and other biological tracers and diagnostic equipment like gamma cameras, ultrasound, positron emission tomography and bone mineral densitometry equipment. They also use laboratory equipment to prepare radiopharmaceuticals, and safety equipment like radiation monitoring equipment.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a qualified nuclear medicine technologist, you need to study a degree in medical radiation science, majoring in nuclear medicine.
There are currently no courses in nuclear medicine available in Western Australia. You can study degree courses at a number of universities interstate.
Charles Sturt University offers a four-year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine). The University of Newcastle offers a four-year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Nuclear Medicine). The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology offers a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Radiations). University of South Australia offers a four-year Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Nuclear Medicine).
Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a nuclear medicine technologist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia. You will also need to obtain a licence to operate radiation equipment from the Radiological Council. There is also the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine as the professional body for this industry.