In nuclear medicine, radionuclides (unstable atoms that emit radiation spontaneously) are used to diagnose and treat disease. Nuclear medicine technologists administer these radiopharma-ceuticals to patients, then monitor the characteristics and functions of tissues or organs in which they localize. Abnormal areas show higher or lower concentrations of radioactivity than normal.
Nuclear medicine technologists operate gamma scintillation cameras that detect and amp the radioactive drug in the patient's body to create an image.
Nuclear medicine technologists explain test procedures to patients. They prepare a dosage of the radiopharmaceutical and administer it by injection or other means. Technologists then produce the images for a physician to interpret. Technologists adhere to safety standards to keep radiation doses to workers and patients as low as reasonably achievable.
Nuclear medicine technologists operate sophisticated equipment to help physicians and other health practitioners diagnose and treat patients. Radiologic technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, cardiovascular technologists, health physicists, and radiopharmacists are related healthcare professions.