RESTON, Va. -- The future looks bright for nuclear medicine technologists. Technologists enjoy their jobs, find their salaries near the top of the scale for professions with similar educational requirements, are well educated and remain poised for continuing growth and change. These facts are gleaned from a recent survey sponsored by SNMTS, a scientific organization that promotes continued development and improvement of the art and science of molecular imaging, nuclear medicine and technology.
"The study, 'Nuclear Medicine Technologists in the United States: Findings From a 2005 Survey,' provides the most comprehensive picture of nuclear medicine technologists ever developed and contains information about demographic characteristics, education, employment, career paths and attitudes about the profession," explained SNMTS President D. Scott Holbrook. "By conducting this survey, SNMTS can learn more about the thoughts, opinions and challenges of technologists so its leaders can make more informed decisions and better meet current and future needs," he added. "With this information, we will be able to take the lead in determining how the nuclear medicine technologists of today may broaden their scope to become the imaging specialists or molecular imaging technologists of the future," said Holbrook, who represents nearly 8,000 nuclear medicine technologists who are employed in hospitals, universities, medical clinics and research centers across the United States and abroad.
"More than 2,200 nuclear medicine technologists (certified either by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board and/or the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists) responded to a 60-question survey concerning multiple aspects of the profession," said Anthony Knight, who chaired the SNMTS Advisory Committee for the survey. In looking at the future, the findings note that 6 out of 10 (60.5 percent) technologists expect to remain in their current positions for the next five years, he said. A majority (53.3 percent) indicated that additional training would be necessary to continue their work, said Knight. Technologists identified a need for training in computed tomography (19.5 percent), PET/CT (37.7 percent), SPECT/CT (13.1 percent), magnetic resonance imaging (3 percent) and mammography/PET (1.2 percent).
Below are some findings from the survey.
Nuclear medicine technologists are highly specialized health care professionals who perform an integral role on the nuclear medicine/molecular imaging team in diagnosing and treating disease, working with physicians, patients, physicists, nuclear pharmacists, computer specialists, nurses, secretaries and other health care professionals. They have direct patient contact; prepare, calibrate and administer radiopharmaceuticals; perform patient imaging procedures (including computer processing); operate imaging, lab and computer instrumentation; and ensure radiation safety.
The Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Albany conducted the survey and prepared the 158-page "Nuclear Medicine Technologists in the United States: Findings From a 2005 Survey." Complete survey results are located on SNM's Web site at http://www.snm.org (click on the Research and Data link). The report's executive summary will be published in the December Journal of Nuclear Medicine Technology.
About SNM--Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy
SNM is an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the science, technology and practical applications of molecular and nuclear imaging to diagnose, manage and treat diseases in women, men and children. Founded more than 50 years ago, SNM continues to provide essential resources for health care practitioners and patients; publish the most prominent peer-reviewed resource in the field; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; and train physicians, technologists, scientists, physicists, chemists and radiopharmacists in state-of-the-art imaging procedures and advances. SNM members have introduced--and continue to explore--biological and technological innovations in medicine that noninvasively investigate the molecular basis of diseases, benefiting countless generations of patients.
SNM's Technologist Section is a scientific organization formed with--but operating autonomously from--SNM. SNMTS promotes the continued development and improvement of the art and science of nuclear medicine and technology. SNM is based in Reston, Va.; additional information can be found online at http://www.snm.org.
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