Looking into the field, few questions:

1) How do you go about becoming a technician? 2) What is your day to day routine? 3) What are the options for growth in nuclear medicine? And how much training is needed to go from say...CT to MRI? 4) Does being a computer nerd techie make it easier to navigate and operate these complex pieces of hardware. 5) What other career choices did you consider? Do you still love it?

Thank you in advance :)

Comments: 58 • Responses: 4  • Date: 

MockingbirdRambler8 karma

you might head on over to /r/radiology

TheElCaminoKid2 karma

Thanks :)

13reezy6 karma

I'm a nuclear medicine technologist! I'm actually at work as we speak lol. 1) I graduated from a college in savannah Georgia with my bachelors degree in radiologic sciences, specifically nuclear medicine (bachelors degrees are pretty much a must-have nowadays). 2) day to day routine completely depends on where you work! Right now I am at a standalone imaging facility and am able to sit around, do a couple scans a day, then leave. I also work at a hospital and it can get extremely busy where you don't sit down or eat a lunch from the start of the day until the end. 3) nuclear medicine! It's always a growing field...specifically PET imaging is going to be the future in my opinion but nuclear medicine will always be around. Some certifications/credentials are easy to obtain and learn, different branches of radiology (example: X-Ray and Ultrasound) have completely different principles and therefore you can't really switch over easily. But nuclear medicine to PET or CT imaging is relatively simple since they use some of the same principles. 4) being computer literate helps A TON. Lots of people in the field are a little older and have no clue how to actually navigate around software or things of that nature. They will look in amazement while you figure out a way to get images to display properly/ send to PACS systems/ etc. 5) I didn't really have any other career choices particularly. My parents work in hospital settings so I was able to shadow lots of different medical jobs before I found nuclear medicine and it really clicked with me. BONUS: yes, I LOVE my job. Nuclear Medicine is very slow paced sometimes and you get to spend lots of time with the patients to explain the procedure/obtain histories/start IV's/process images/etc.

I'm on mobile so this may not be formatted very well, but if you have any other questions you can message me. I love talking about what I do!

In case you're wondering, I'm 24, been out of college and in the field a little over 2 years now. And fyi we are radiologic TECHNOLOGISTS not technicians ;) (My teacher got mad at me one time when I said technician and I learned it the hard way).

TheElCaminoKid3 karma

Thank you for your answer!

I'm 23 and am currently working in entertainment as a lighting/sound technician for live theater. I majored in psych as a back door into medicine. I am also trained (not certified) as an EMT-B in CT, did that for a few months before heading off to college. I love emergency medicine, but not in the back of an ambulance. My mother is a PA so I also come from a medical family, both medicine and medical admin. OK, my background is out there, and I'm looking to return to medicine.

Next questions: what was the training like? 2 year program? What can I do to prepare for a program? What are some aspects of the job that nobody would think about? Oddities? How many matchbox cars have you found in rectums? Are you living a comfortable life financially? Especially only 2 years out of college? (I understand that this may be an inappropriate question, so it's OK to skip it :)

Thanks again, I've been thinking about radiography for a few years now, just doing more research before I officially apply.

Joshs_Banana2 karma

I'm a mammographer and xray tech. First off, it's technologist, not technician. We operate equipment not fix it. I work in a clinic setting but I used to work in a 400-bed hospital. Like any job it has its great aspects and not so great ones. I like people and wanted to be in health care. I did not have the stomach to be a nurse and I'm too lazy for medical school. It can be very rewarding but as someone else stated you are overlooked as a medical professional from other medical professionals. It's a 2 year degree which I wouldn't recommend beginning without core classes being done. Clinical is the entire program including an entire summer. You then have to pass the registry and maintain your license by earning CEUs. After that you can cross train in another modality, but usually you have to pursue that on your own time, and you have to pass that registry. The climate of health care has changed. Employers demand more for less. It's about money. Work can be very hard with low morale. Will it stay this way? Who knows? I like my job still after 12 years. I feel lucky to have a full-time position.

TheElCaminoKid2 karma

Thank you all for your honest responses. I'm reading everywhere that this specific sect of medicine is in high demand. Very interesting to hear the contrary, an over saturated market. Much to think about...

niloc0092 karma

1) How do you go about becoming a technician?

First off (in Canada anyway), it's technologist, not technician :P it's a 2 year program in British Columbia, 10 months of class, full year of practicum. All the prerequisites are grade 12 courses, English, Physics, Biology, Math. All with at least a B.

2) What is your day to day routine?

I work at a hospital, so most of my day is imaging patients from emergency or the wards. Though we do get a lot of outpatients as well. You'll do a lot of patient transfers between beds and the exam table. Sometimes the OR will call and you'll need to assist with orthopaedic, urinary, or cardiac surgeries. There will usually be a few portables in the day where you'll have to take an xray machine on wheels to the ward or emergency for a patient that can't go to the department.

3) What are the options for growth in nuclear medicine? And how much training is needed to go from say...CT to MRI?

I believe Nuc Med is its own separate course, but having x-ray technologist on the resume won't hurt. We come out of our program CT qualified, you just need to have a few extra practicum weeks to be fully certified. MRI is an extra 2 years of schooling on top of the original 2, giving you a Bachelor's degree.

4) Does being a computer nerd techie make it easier to navigate and operate these complex pieces of hardware.

Yes and no. The systems are quite intuitive and made to be simple. There's not a lot of complex computer stuff you'll do on a day to day basis. Though when problems do arise, it's always helpful to have some computer knowledge so that you might be able to fix it without having to call the IT guys.

5) What other career choices did you consider? Do you still love it?

Considered doctor, respiratory therapist, nurse, and a couple other medical careers. Settled on x-ray because of the program length. Yes, I still love every day! Though I am still in my first year out of school, so maybe I can't chime in on that just yet haha

Any other questions? Fire away!

TheElCaminoKid2 karma

Other Redditors have said that there is an over saturation of technologist in the US. Is it the same in Canada?