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Nuclear Medicine Technology Program being introduced in the fall
04-13-11

The Department of Medical Imaging at Misericordia University is introducing a new certificate program in nuclear medicine technology beginning in the fall semester for both traditional and adult learners.

Nuclear medicine technology is a diagnostic imaging treatment that uses a small amount of radioactive materials to study the function of internal organs and to treat certain diseases. The nuclear medicine technologist is a highly skilled professional who, in conjunction with a physician, either directs or participates in the daily operation of the nuclear medicine department. A nuclear medicine technologist’s responsibilities are varied but include four major roles: technical skills, patient care, radiation safety and administrative duties.

The Nuclear Medicine Technology Program at Misericordia University will prepare entry-level technologists through an interdisciplinary curriculum of basic science study and clinical education. The program provides all necessary course work as mandated by the Joint Review Committee in Nuclear Medicine Technology (JRCNMT), the national accrediting agency for nuclear medicine programs in the country. Students engage in clinical internships and nuclear medicine courses throughout the course of study. A representative of JRCNMT is scheduled for a site visit as part of accreditation in October.

The 50-credit program is available over six sessions in a combination of on-line and weekend formats for academic course work and weekdays for clinical experiences for anyone who meets the 19 credits of pre-requisite courses. Potential students include, but are not limited to: current medical imaging majors, radiologic technologists, registered nurses, those with bachelor’s degrees or anyone simply wishing to begin a new career. The certificate program can be completed in as little as 21 months.

It also offers recent high school graduates enrolled in the Misericordia University Bachelor of Science degree program in medical imaging an additional area of expertise and competency in the growing field, such as sonography or nuclear medicine.

The exciting field of nuclear medicine is also in demand nationally, as the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field to grow by 16 percent from 2008-18 — faster than the national average for all occupations. The need for these highly trained professionals arises from technological advancement, the development of new nuclear medicine treatments and an increase in the number of middle-aged and elderly people, who are the primary users of diagnostic and treatment procedures.

The new program is being directed by the Department of Medical Imaging, which has routinely exceeded the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology’s standards for more than three decades. The national accreditation body establishes benchmarks institutions much achieve. For example, programs must have 75 percent of its graduates pass the challenging registry exam the first time and 75 percent of its students must be employed six months after graduation.

Graduates of MU’s medical imaging program have also routinely experienced higher pass rates on the American Registry Radiologic Technologists national certification examination than the national average. Since 1988, 96.35 percent of the program’s students have passed the exam on their first attempt.

The new Nuclear Medicine Technology Program will build off the successful track record of medical imaging by combining a high-quality academic program with multiple clinical placements to produce top-notch professionals. “Our new program will attain and surpass established nuclear medicine health care standards by continually providing students and the health care community with educational opportunities that demonstrate the current practice of nuclear medicine technology in an effort to provide the highest quality patient care,’’ said Elaine Halesey, Ed.D., R.T., (R)(QM), chair of the Department of Medical Imaging at Misericordia University.

For more information about the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program at Misericordia University, please log on to http://www.misericordia.edu/nucmed or call Larree Brown, assistant director of admissions for part-time and graduate programs in the Center for Adult and Continuing Education, at lbrown@misericordia.edu or at (570) 674-6451. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 32 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in three colleges in full- and part-time formats.