Get a part-time job in the office of a nuclear medicine physician. Ask your school's career services office for help with finding employment listings. You can also learn more about the health care field and see if this is a good fit for you by volunteering at a local hospital, clinic, or nursing home. This will give you opportunities to work around other health care professionals and patients and see firsthand what the work environment is like. Read as much as possible about the profession. Find a list of newsletters, books, and other publications on the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Web site, http://www.snmmi.org/NewsPublications/index.aspx?navItemNumber=501. Conduct an informational interview with a nuclear medicine physician to learn about their career path. Your school's career services office can also help you find physicians who are interested in discussing their job with students.
Nuclear medicine physicians use radioactive materials to diagnose and treat diseases. They work in hospitals, research facilities, and health care centers. Some large hospitals have a nuclear research laboratory, which functions under the direction of a chief of nuclear medicine, who coordinates the activities of the lab with other hospital departments and medical personnel. Nuclear medicine physicians perform tests using nuclear isotopes and use techniques that allow them to see and understand organs deep within the body.
Daily tasks for nuclear medicine physicians may include examining and interviewing patients, and recording data; administering radionuclide to patients; directing and instructing nuclear medicine technicians for patient treatment, dosage, and imagining positions and projections. Physicians may also set up the image scanning equipment, such as the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or gamma camera. They prepare reports after studying the image reports, and confer with other medical specialists to make recommendations for treatment procedures. Nuclear medicine physicians also make sure their health care team operates according to quality and safety standards.
Some nuclear medicine physicians work in private practice and some are employed full time in hospitals. Others are in academic medicine and teach in medical schools or teaching hospitals. Some are engaged only in research. Some are salaried employees of health maintenance organizations or other prepaid health care plans.
Nuclear medicine physicians use various software programs in their work. They use medical software, such as eClinicalWorks, GE Healthcare Centricity EMR, Radiopharmacy inventory databases, and motion correction software. They also use graphics or photo imaging software, spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, as well as Word processing and e-mail software.