Nuclear Medicine MP

The Nuclear Medicine Physicist is an essential member of the multi-professional team responsible for the design and delivery of nuclear medicine diagnosis and treatment.

Nuclear Medicine Physicists apply their knowledge of mathematics, physics and technology to establish, implement and monitor processes which allow optimal diagnosis and treatments, taking into account the radiation safety of patients and others. The Nuclear Medicine Physicist is responsible for the following:

Radiation Safety & Dosimetry:

Nuclear Medicine Physicists play a key role in the application of radiation safety within a nuclear medicine department for both patients and staff. There has been increasing concern about the radiation dose received by patients from diagnostic imaging and over exposures during diagnostic imaging. This highlights the need for optimising the radiation dose to ensure the dose is kept low without compromising the diagnostic information obtained from the test.

Instrumentation & Quality Control:

The Nuclear Medicine Physicist is responsible for the acceptance testing of equipment and its ongoing quality control program so that they produce the desired diagnosis when they are applied correctly by the nuclear medicine technologists. Nuclear Medicine Physicists can be responsible for first line maintenance of equipment and have the ability to critically assess faults, offer remedial actions and liaises with the supplier and service engineer to rectify problems. The decision to hand over a piece of nuclear medicine equipment for clinical use after a repair which may affect the clinical accuracy of the equipment should be made by a Nuclear Medicine Physicist in consultation with the service engineer carrying out the repair. This may require a balanced judgement between the need to provide a clinical service to patients and the need for diagnostic accuracy.

Computers & Image Processing:

Nuclear Medicine is heavily reliant on a functional IT environment and a Nuclear Medicine Physicist may be involved in ensuring its continual functionality. The Nuclear Medicine Physicist is also familiar with the theories behind image formation and understands the sources of errors and artefacts in nuclear medicine studies. A Nuclear Medicine Physicist offers remedial actions for such errors and artefacts.

Clinical Applications:

A Nuclear Medicine Physicist must be able to recognise common artefacts in clinical images and undertake remedial action to correct the problem. Nuclear Medicine Physicists recognise and understand the sources of error in nuclear medicine studies and are responsible for the validation of the techniques used. New techniques developed are also validated by the Nuclear Medicine Physicist.

Teaching & Research:

Most Nuclear Medicine Physicists are involved in research. Some may also be involved in teaching, both in a hospital and tertiary environment.

Want to learn more? Follow the link for a full description of roles and responsibilities.

**Photo Credit**

Frank Gagliardi "3D microbeams colour". Category: Other exciting aspects of Medical PHysocs