Technology (NMT) - Job Profile & Responsibilities of a Nuclear
What Is Nuclear
Nuclear medicine technology involves the use of
radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals, to create
images of organs, study body functions, analyze biological
specimens and treat disease. Nuclear medicine technologists
(NMTs) apply the art and skill of diagnostic imaging and therapeutics
through the safe and effective use of radionuclides.
medicine combines chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer
technology, and medicine in using radioactivity to diagnose
and treat disease.
Though there are
many diagnostic techniques currently available, nuclear medicine
uniquely provides information about both the structure and function
of virtually every major organ system within the body. It is this
ability to characterize and quantify physiologic function which
separates nuclear medicine from other imaging modalities, such as
x-ray. Nuclear medicine procedures are safe; they involve little
or no patient discomfort and do not require the use of anesthesia.
Who is a Nuclear Medicine
The Nuclear Medicine Technologist is a highly specialized
healthcare professional who works closely with the nuclear medicine
physician. The technologist’s
primary responsibilities are to:
and administers radiopharmaceuticals
• Images different organs and bodily structures
• Uses sophisticated computers to process data and enhance
• Analyzes biological specimens in the laboratory
• Works closely with doctors, patients and other members of
the health care team.
procedures, radiopharmaceuticals are administered to patients intravenously,
orally or by inhalation. The radioactive material concentrates in
a specific organ or organ system.
Instruments called scintillation cameras can detect the
radiation emitted by the radiopharmaceutical concentrated in the
organ. The camera produces a computer image of the organ. The images
allow medical professionals to study the structure and measure the
function of the organ, and to identify tumors, areas of infection
or other disorders. The radiation dose is small, and the patient
experiences little or no discomfort during the procedure.
cameras that detect radioactive drugs as they move through patients'
bodies. To track the movement of drugs, technologists arrange patients
and the equipment in the proper position. Then they start the camera,
also known as a scanner. The
scanner monitors the path of the radioactive drug in the body. This
path appears as images on a computer screen or on film. Technologists
print out the pictures for doctors to interpret. In addition, they
monitor patients during procedures and enter test results into patients'
The procedure for
giving radiation treatments is similar. Technologists position patients
and equipment properly. Then they program computers so that patients
receive the correct amount of radiation. After the tests or treatments
are given, technologists record the results.
technologists maintain and adjust laboratory equipment.
Following safety procedures, they dispose of and store radioactive
materials. They keep track of the amount and type of radiation
disposed of and used. They may also purchase materials.
Technology - A Career Option
If you have an interest in the health sciences and computer
technology and are looking for a people-oriented career, consider
nuclear medicine technology. You
can join in post graduate diplomas, 4 year degrees or in M.Sc
programs. NMTs are employed in hospitals, universities, medical
clinics and research centers.
Jayakumar. A Lecturer, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences,
Directorate of Distance Education, Sikkim Manipal University, Manipal-576104