The field of nuclear medicine is an area of healthcare that deals with giving patients radioactive drugs to help see problem parts of their bodies using imaging devices. To get into a nuclear medicine training program, an individual should have a high school diploma or the equivalent certification and complete an admissions form. Pre-requisite courses such as math and chemistry, as well as physics and biology also are a requirement before a student can enroll in industry-specific courses. Nuclear medicine courses cover radiopharmaceuticals and computer imaging in addition to giving students hands-on field experience.
One of the several types of nuclear medicine courses available is a class on radiation. While in this class, a student learns how to correctly throw away, pack away, and work with radioactive substances. In addition, pupils study how to use tools that monitor radiation levels and gain knowledge on how to calculate radiation doses in patients. Classes teach regional and national radiation standards and prepare students to handle related disasters as well. Achieving an understanding of how radiation can harm the body is an important topic in this course.
Nuclear medicine courses also include a class on radionuclides, which are radioactive substances injected into the body to make a body scan work effectively. Students in a course on radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals study methods to make organs more visible in scans when dealing with various disease conditions. The goal of this class is to help an aspiring nuclear medicine technologist help doctors to collect the information that they need to draw legitimate medical diagnostic conclusions.
Development of computer and imaging skills is another subject studied in the nuclear medicine field. Nuclear medicine courses on imaging allow students to master the use of imaging technologies, as well as appropriate methods for processing radiographic film and taking radiographs. Students gain in-depth information on what happens when matter and X-rays come into contact with one another. Learning how to pinpoint problems such as tumors, and to determine stages of cancer using positron emitting tomography (PET) imaging and computed tomography (CT) imaging is a valuable part of this course.
Several nuclear medicine courses require pupils to also complete practicum experiences. While in these classes, students help to perform different diagnostic tasks and use computers for imaging purposes. By the end of the program, they are trained sufficiently to perform complex nuclear medicine practices independently under the supervision of an experienced nuclear medicine technologist. In addition, students practice completing quality assurance program requirements in the industry.