RN and nuclear medicine

  1. Hello everyone.

    This has become one of my favorite boards. So much information, and lots of interesting stuff to learn.

    I am a pre nursing student, and I am hoping to begin nursing school in the Fall, or in January of 2008. I am also very interested in nuclear medicine: radiology, PET, CT, etc. I have found through my research that there are tons of certificates and degree programs in nuclear medicine. My goal is to obtain my nursing degree, become licensed, and return to school for a certificate in nuclear medicine. There are other things I want to specialize in, but I would like to start here. How does this plan sound? What can a nurse with nuclear medicine credentials do in the radiology department. I guess I'm wanting to know if it would be a waste of time to obtain the certificate in nuclear medicine. Will I learn all I need to know to operate machinery without the certificate during an orientation? Thank you.

    opradiva
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    I just checked with one of our Nuc. Med. Techs for confirmation: most Nuc. Med. programs (yes there are organized programs) require one be a Radiologic Technologist ("Rad. Tech") in order to be considered for the program. Check out your particular state requirements.

    Also, the Rad Techs, while licensed in a particular state, also must pass a national exam, which the administering governing body is fast moving towards the Nuc Med techs obtaining a Bachelor's degree from an accredited Nuc Med program.

    I suggest if you're interested, to do an online search for Nuc Med programs in your state/area, and then inquire about their respective requirements.

    You may need to decide between being an RN and being a Rad Tech/Nuc Med Tech, depending on how much time and $$ you want/are able to invest in education. You won't be able to work as both, simultaneously, even though having an RN makes you a more valuable part of the team, IMO. (Also, no facility will pay you double wages for your RN; you'll receive the Nuc Med Tech pay, if you are hired/work in that capacity. )

    An RN's scope of practice and focus is very different from that of a Nuc Med Tech (I highly respect both! ).

    Check into both, and I wish you luck. --- D
  4. by   opradiva
    Thanks so much for asking around and getting some information. Very nice of you!:spin:

    If I had to choose, and it sounds like I will (darn it), I definitely would go with nursing. I think the scope of practice is much broader, and I would have the chance to work in many different specialties. I can see myself jumping around a bit as I gain experience, and I love the idea of variety. This is the main reason why I was attracted to nursing in the first place. I guess I can't do everthing! Thanks again for your help. Take care.
  5. by   dianah
    Again, good luck! There are lots of interesting areas in nursing, let alone in the medical field!
  6. by   jer_sd
    I am the director of a nuc med tech program so I can shed some light on the subject.

    In about 15-20 states nuc med tech are licensed or registered by the state. There are two national certification boards for entry level, arrt and nmtcb. Arrt requires you graduate from an accredited program, nmtcb does have an on the job pathway (8,000 clinical hours and specific classes). Advanced certifications are available in PET and nuclear cardiology, they are working on an advanced practice nuc med tech called a nuclear medicine practitioner.

    In nuclear medicine rn's are used for cardiac stress testing, monitoring patients, administration of specific medicaitons used in some studies such as lasix or morphine. Usually the rn's do not handle the radioactive substances but depending on state law they may be able to. Imaging of the patients you could learn in a supportive enviroment but again this is not the norm.

    What would be the potential benifit of both credentials? Wider scope of practice. But again this is not a huge benifit.

    Nuc med is an interesting field (but then again I am a radiology NP so I am biased) but it does have a huge shortage nation wide but not as bad as nursing. An entire hospital can run on 4 technologists. My program allows rn to apply, you do not need to be a rad tech for all of the schools.

    Let me konw if you have more questions,
    Jeremy
  7. by   DaddyM
    Hey Jeremy,
    I am a RN/BSN thinking seriously of making the jump to nuclear medicine for a variety of reasons. I would very much appreciate the chance to exchange emails or talk on the phone if you prefer.
    Get back to me when you can: I meet UNM's program director next Wednesday!

    Michael
  8. by   undecided
    I am a nuc med tech thinking of making the switch to nursing also for a variety of reasons-number one being that there are NO jobs in Nuc med. Its been that way since I graduated two years ago. I work per diem (2-3) days a week but have been looking for a full time job for two years with no luck. Hopefully, this will change in a few years but for right now- it does not look good.
  9. by   DutchgirlRN
    I am an RN who has worked in Nuc Med. I was trained to work there when one of the Nuc Med techs went on maternity leave and they could not find another Nuc Med tech, not even through an agency. I was trained to do the cardiac stress testing and started all of the IV's as well as giving meds such as dopamine, morphine, lasix. I was allowed to inject the radioactive materials. But was not allowed to figure the dose nor order the dose. The Nuc Med Techs I worked with all had a BS in Nuclear Medicine. They said they wished sometimes that they had gone into nursing because there are so many different options available in nursing. One plans to go to nursing school when her children are alittle older. There no advantage in having both degrees. Nuc Med techs in general do make more than RN's. At least where I work they do. They make starting out what I do after 32 years.
  10. by   nucglr
    I'm also a Nuc Med Tech and have had a horrible time finding full-time employment. I was even willing to relocate anywhere in the country and it was next to impossible. It's almost like you need to know someone who works there/have inside connections in order to get the job. And once you have one, be ready to keep it. This is not the kind of job that allows you to travel, unless you're contracting with a travel company. But I even tried that and it's so saturated right now, they had no jobs for me. I never saw this coming when I was in school.

    It's a valuable job and I love it, but I am also considering becoming an R.N. because I'm still young and want to be able to get a job where I want to live, rather than having my job dictate where I have to live. Has anyone out there done this? I have an A.A.S. in Nuclear Medicine Technology and am interested in breaking into the Nursing field. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

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