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Nuclear Medicine Physicians

The Job

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, 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. 

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