Nuclear Medicine Technology A.A.S. Additional Information

Required General Education Courses

  • All required learning support courses bases on college testing
  • BIOL 2010 & 2020 with lab
  • MATH 1130 or higher
  • ENGL 1010
  • CHEM 1010
  • PHYS 1030
  • NUCM 1100
  • Behavioral/Social Science Electives: See A.A.S. Career Degree Information - Approved General Education Courses for All Degrees
  • Humanities/Fine Arts Electives: See A.A.S. Career Degree Information - Approved General Education Courses for All Degrees
  • Please see Chattanooga State catalog for course descriptions

The Nuclear Medicine Technology Program courses at Chattanooga State Community College begin in spring semester and is 5-semester program. Full-time student status is required. The program is accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology, 820 W Danforth Rd, #B1, Edmond, OK 73003.   Individuals successfully completing the Chattanooga State Nuclear Medicine Technology Program may apply as candidates for certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists and the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board.

The goal of all Chattanooga State health programs is to prepare practitioners who can function in the health care arena to ensure the safety of patients. Program standards are in place to assure that students have the potential to perform as entry-level practitioners. Acceptance into a health program is contingent upon the student's demonstrated ability to meet these standards.

Recommended Preparatory Courses

All courses in the NUCM curriculum must be completed with a grade of C or better and a minimum GPA of 2.0 maintained to advance in the program. Program courses follow an attendance policy and excessive absenteeism may result in final course grade reduction and/or program dismissal. Points are awarded to applicants to applicants with completed general education requirements prior to program admission. The program has a competitive admission process; completion of the application process and general education courses does not guarantee program acceptance.

Progression Policy

Evaluation

All NUCM prefixed courses

  • Grading Scale: A = 99-90; B = 89-80; C = 79-75
  • Below Mastery Level: D= 75; F= 70

Students who do not meet the clinical education criteria may be given an "I" (incomplete) grade. A grade of "I" will be given to any student in a clinical course who does not complete the minimum hours of clinical attendance as specified for that course. An "I" becomes an "F" if work is not completed within two weeks into the next semester.

Repeat Policy and Termination

Students who do not meet the progression criteria or who receive a grade of "D" or "F" in any course in the program will immediately be withdrawn. Such individuals will be allowed to re-apply and will be given consideration for articulation back into the program if clinical space is available. Readmitted students who do not meet the progression criteria or who receive a grade of "D" or "F" in any course in the program will be permanently terminated from the program and advised to pursue another course of study. Chattanooga State does provide academic counseling.

Affiliates

Clinical assignments for each student, totaling approximately 1,100 clock hours, are required. Therefore, clinical schedules may include semester breaks and summer breaks. Students are responsible for transportation to and from the College and the affiliated hospitals. Student liability insurance is required.

Nuclear Medicine Study Abroad Option

Students have the opportunity to travel abroad to places like London, England, Lisbon, Portugal, or Melbourne/Sydney, Australia to experience global nuclear medicine for one week to ten days while in the program at their own expense.

NUCM 2145:

Global Experiences in Nuclear Medicine Elective Course

In this course, students will journey to international locations to explore the ways in which nuclear medicine and molecular imaging is performed.  Radiopharmaceuticals, procedures, and technology not used or performed in the United States will be the focus of this course. Students will have the opportunity to visit hospitals and clinics in other countries and not only experience how nuclear medicine and molecular imaging is performed, but also gain an understanding on how health care in the host country works compared to the United States.  Guest lecturers in the host country will present on various topics, including nuclear medicine procedures, patient care, and healthcare policies.

The course requires pre-travel planning and study classes, in collaboration with other colleges, to learn about the location and nuclear medicine and molecular imaging in the host country, along with cultural information.   Several post-travel classes will occur to finalize the project and to plan for a presentation to the Chattanooga State Allied Health Community.

Prerequisite:

NMTCB or ARRT(N) certified or successful completion of NUCM 2200, NUCM 2301, NUCM 2204, NUCM 2214, NUCM 2205, NUCM 2607.

Course Cost:

The course cost will vary depending on location of trip.  Please contact Leesa Ross at Leesa.Ross@chattanoogastate.edu for current cost estimate.  Cost will include hotel, some meals, airfare, and some excursions.

There are limited seats for these trips and they are offered on a first come first serve basis.  A $100 nonrefundable application fee is due in December and final payment is due approximately 10 weeks before traveling.

Health Awareness Information

Possible Health Risks To Women Who Are Exposed To Radiation During Pregnancy

As a student in the nuclear medicine technology program, it is probable that you will receive some exposure to ionizing radiation. However, the risk incurred is slight and is to be accepted in the same way as are risks by workers in other fields, such as electricians and chemists. You will receive instruction regarding radiation protection and you will be monitored to determine the amount of radiation you receive.

State and Federal regulations set the dose limit for radiation workers at 5 rems per year, but this level is not considered desirable and the dose should be kept as low as practicable.

One problem which arises is the possibility of radiation exposure during the early weeks of pregnancy even before the woman is aware of the condition. The problem in this case is the exposure to the fetus. In the early stages of development, certain tissues and organs are especially sensitive to radiation. The present recommendation is that the total dose to a woman for the entire gestation period shall be 0.5 rem and no more than .05 rem per month. All fertile women should be considered as potentially pregnant with regard to radiation exposure. This means that radiation exposure should be kept to a minimum at all times. A woman may declare her pregnancy by notifying the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program in writing of the pregnancy along with an estimated date of conception so that the estimated dose to the embryo/fetus prior to the declaration of pregnancy can be determined. A woman cannot be required to make this declaration of pregnancy, and may withdraw her declaration of pregnancy at any time. The decision to make a declaration of pregnancy and/or to withdraw the declaration of pregnancy is strictly a woman’s choice and is entirely voluntary. If you declare your pregnancy, you must sign a release and receive instruction regarding the radiation protection of your embryo/fetus.

Any woman that does not declare her pregnancy or withdraws her declaration of pregnancy shall be subject to the normal occupational dose limits outlined in "State Regulations for Protection Against Radiation" 1200-2-5-.56.

The college and clinical affiliates will take all practical steps to reduce your radiation exposure. By monitoring your radiation exposure, it can be determined whether it is likely that the fetus could receive .05 rem in a month or 0.5 rem or more before birth. It is your responsibility to decide whether the exposure you are receiving is low enough to protect your unborn child. The alternatives that you might want to consider are:

  • You could delay having children until you are no longer working in an area where the radiation dose to your unborn baby could exceed .05 rem per month or 0.5 rem for the gestation period.
  • If you do become pregnant, you might consider leaving the program until after the birth of the child and re-entering at some later time. You must make a decision without delay because the unborn child is most sensitive to radiation during the first three (3) months of pregnancy.
  • You may also, of course, choose to continue the program but with full awareness that you are doing so at some small risk for your unborn child. If you choose to continue, you will be expected to perform all the duties of a student.

You could reduce your exposure where possible by decreasing the amount of time you spend in the radiation areas, increasing your distance from the radiation source, and using shielding and proper protection devices.

The following facts should be read to help you make a decision:

  • The first three (3) months of pregnancy are the most important, so you should make your decision quickly.
  • In most cases of occupational exposure the actual dose received by the unborn baby is less than the dose received by the mother because some of the exposure is absorbed by the mother’s body.
  • At the present occupational exposure limit, the actual risk to the unborn baby is small, but experts disagree on the exact amount of risk.
  • There is no need to be concerned about sterility or loss of your ability to bear children. The radiation dose required to produce such effects is more than 100 times larger than the dose limit for adults.
  • Be aware, there is a .05 rem dose limit per month and a 0.5 rem dose limit for the full nine (9) month pregnancy.

If you have any questions, consult the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program Director. Additional information concerning prenatal exposure may also be obtained by contacting the Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Radiological Health at (615) 532-0364.

Additional Requirements

Students must provide proof of current CPR certification for health professionals. This must be maintained throughout the nuclear medicine technology program. The requirement can be met with the American Heart Association BLS for Health Professionals and remain current through entire program.

Health Verification

Prior to enrollment, students must provide evidence through a health verification form and all required tests, including a drug screen and specific immunizations, that they are in good health and free from communicable diseases prior to the beginning of the fall term. Because nuclear medicine technology involves the direct care of patients, it will be required that students receive the Hepatitis-B vaccination series and an annual flu shot. Other specific immunizations and/or tests include MMR, Varicella, Tdap and N95 Fit Test. All screenings and tests are the financial responsibility of the student.

Criminal Background Checks

Following acceptance and prior to entering the first clinical course in designated health care programs, each student must undergo a criminal background check in order to comply with policies of affiliating clinical practice agencies. It shall be the student’s responsibility to comply with instructions provided upon acceptance and provide the results by a designated date. The check will be at the expense of the student. Students who do not meet this requirement in a timely manner or whose background does not meet agency standards will not be able to successfully complete the program. Additionally, a criminal background may preclude licensure or employment. Individuals with a question concerning this should schedule an appointment with the Program Director.

Eligibility to Write Certification Examination Boards

Individuals who have been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation could be ineligible for certification by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB), even though they have successfully completed a nuclear medicine technology program. Individuals with a question should file a pre-application with the ARRT or NMTCB in order to obtain a ruling.

Essential Functions/Technical Standards

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students must be, with reasonable accommodation, physically and mentally capable of performing the essential functions of the program.

  • Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgement.
  • Interpersonal abilities sufficient for interaction with individuals, families and groups.
  • Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.

Technical Performance Standards:

Major Tasks of Job Performance and Clinical Education

  • Position patient and/or camera to obtain desired image.
  • Perform patient retrieval and dispatch including the assistance of patient from a wheelchair, stretcher or stool using proper body mechanics to avoid injury to patient or self.
  • Observe patients for adverse reactions and if necessary, monitor vital signs in order to provide for the patient's safety.
  • Communicate with the patient concerning medical history, pregnancy, identity, and exam procedures to provide accurate information and promote quality care and patient comfort.
  • Select, prepare, and operate nuclear medicine imaging systems and related equipment, including the performance and analyzation of quality control procedures.
  • Prepare, and administer appropriate oral and intravenous radioactive materials, following all radiation safety and aseptic guidelines.
  • Properly label images with information necessary for identification and interpretation and evaluate the quality of the image for accuracy.
  • Communicate with the physicians and fellow employees to complete of job tasks in a manner that is efficient, correct, at high quality and fosters an atmosphere of cooperation.
  • Perform record keeping necessary for proper department operation and compliance with governing regulations and clinic policy.
  • Survey and inspect all incoming radioactive materials for using appropriate equipment and record as prescribed by governing regulations.
  • Properly store all radioactive material, with appropriate shielding in appropriate restricted areas.
  • Properly perform and record contaminated material and radioactive waste according to department disposal protocol and governing regulations.
  • Perform appropriate documentation and monitor contamination from the handling of radioactive material and perform appropriate containment, clean up and action to minimize exposure to, and spread of, contamination
  • Properly handle and maintain patient support systems such as IVs, catheters, ventilators, central lines, nasogastric tubes, etc.

Capabilities Necessary to Perform Major Tasks

  • Ability to move wheelchairs, stretchers, etc., alone or with assistance as available.  Must be able to lift, support, and/or transfer a patient. 1,2,3,4,7
  • Ability to visualize patient for identification, positioning, camera placement and alignment, and image analysis.  Ability to move the body and body regions in order to provide patient care and support, and to position patient for imaging and/or treatment. 2,3,4,7,8
  • Ability to reach, position, and operate imaging tables, camera control panels, film processor, collimators, dose calibrators, etc., at standard locations and placements. 6,10
  • Ability to handle and safely use radiopharmaceuticals, vials, syringes, sterile items, pharmaceuticals, catheters, IVs, etc. 6,7,12,13,14,15,16
  • Ability to access and use darkrooms of various standard designs; and to load, unload, and process imaging films. 6,8,10
  • Ability to read written passages, to communicate orally, and to write.  Ability to hear or lip read for reception of spoken communication. 1,2,3,4,5,7,9,10,11
  • Ability and stamina to withstand lengthy periods of physical activity to include moving quickly and continuously. All Tasks
  • Ability to perceive events realistically, to think clearly and rationally, and to function independently in routine, stress, and/or emergency situations.  All Tasks
  • Any student who may require accommodations should schedule an appointment with the Nuclear Medicine Technology Program Director.