Nuclear Medicine/PET uses small amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat disease. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that are attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals used in Nuclear Medicine/PET emit gamma and beta rays that can be detected externally by special types of cameras: gamma or PET/CT cameras.
The cameras work with computers to form images that provide data and information about the body area being imaged. The amount of radiation from a Nuclear Medicine/PET procedure is comparable to that received during a diagnostic X-ray.
Nuclear Medicine/PET Technology as a Career
If you have an interest in the health sciences and computer technology and are looking for a people-oriented career, consider Nuclear Medicine/PET technology. Nuclear Medicine/PET combines chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer technology and medicine, using radioactivity to diagnose and treat disease.
Though many diagnostic techniques are available today, Nuclear Medicine/PET is unique in that it provides information about the structure and function of virtually every major organ system within the body. It is this ability to characterize and quantify physiologic function that separates Nuclear Medicine/PET from other types of imaging, such as X-ray. Nuclear Medicine/PET procedures are safe, involve little or no patient discomfort, and seldom require the use of anesthesia.
The Technologist’s Role
The Nuclear Medicine/PET technologist is a highly specialized health care professional. Some of the technologist’s primary responsibilities include:
- Preparing and administering radioactive chemical compounds, known as radiopharmaceuticals
- Performing patient-imaging procedures using sophisticated radiation-detecting instrumentation
- Performing computer processing and image enhancement
- Analyzing biologic specimens in the laboratory
- Providing images, data analysis and patient information to the physician for diagnostic interpretation
Your Future as a Nuclear Medicine/PET Technologist
Nuclear Medicine/PET will continue to be a field at the forefront of modern clinical medicine and technological development. The future has never been brighter, thanks to:
- The development of new radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes
- Promising research and development of cancer-detecting and cancer-killing agents, such as genetically engineered antibodies
- The expanding clinical use of exciting new technology known as positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) and SPECT/CT, which provide new and unique means of studying biochemistry and metabolism within living tissues
About the Nuclear Medicine/PET Program
The Nuclear Medicine/PET Technology Program began in 1970 in the Nuclear Medicine Laboratory at the Milwaukee County Medical Complex. Today, Nuclear Medicine/PET is a division of the Department of Radiology of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. It is staffed by the program director, education director, associate physicians, a doctoral physicist, a radiopharmacist and certified Nuclear Medicine/PET technologists. It is equipped with state-of-the-science imaging and counting equipment.
Applicants are interviewed during the months of January and February, and notified in March. The academic year begins in July and ends June 30.
The objectives of the Nuclear Medicine/PET Technology Program are:
- To orient and train technologists in the use of radioactive materials for therapeutic and diagnostic Nuclear Medicine/PET procedures.
- To establish for the community a reliable source of Nuclear Medicine/PET technologists whose skillful and compassionate work with patients will be satisfying to themselves and a credit to the profession.
The program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
Program Outcomes Data
Graduate outcomes are indicators of program effectiveness, demonstrating the extent to which a program achieves its goals. Programmatic graduate outcomes data reported on the JRCNMT website include: 5-year time period of current report; graduation rate; ARRT credentialing success; NMTCB credentialing success and job placement rate.
The table below indicates the program outcomes of the Froedtert & MCW Technology Program.
Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB) Exam Results
|Year||Nuclear Medicine Interns Number of Examinees||Nuclear Medicine Interns