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Pharmacist - Careers in Nuclear Medicine

Pharmacist - Careers in Nuclear Medicine

A Healthcare Career for Today And Tomorrow
If you have an interest in knowledge and skills beyond general practice pharmacy, consider nuclear pharmacy.

Nuclear pharmacy is the specialty practice of pharmacy that seeks to improve and promote health through the safe and effective use of radioactive drugs for diagnosis and therapy.

The Nuclear Pharmacist Role as described by the American Pharmacists Association?s Section on Nuclear Pharmacy Practice:

    A nuclear pharmacist, as a member of the nuclear medicine team, specializes in procurement, compounding, quality assurance, dispensing, distribution, and development of radiopharmaceuticals. In addition, the nuclear pharmacist monitors patient outcomes and provides information and consultation regarding health and safety issues. (for more information, see below)

Primary tasks listed in the American Pharmacists Association?s Nuclear Pharmacy Practice Guidelines

  • Order, receipt, storage and inventory control of radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals), other drugs used in nuclear medicine, and related supplies
  • Preparation of radiopharmaceuticals by combining radioisotopes with reagent kits, and compounding radiopharmaceuticals that are not commercially available
  • Functional checks of instruments, equipment and devices and determination of radiopharmaceutical quality and purity
  • Filling of prescription orders
  • Packaging, labeling and transport of radiopharmaceuticals
  • Proper handling of hazardous chemicals and biological specimens
  • Communicating radiopharmaceutical-related information to others
  • Assuring that patients receive proper preparation before radiopharmaceutical administration and trouble-shooting unanticipated outcomes
  • Laboratory testing of new radiopharmaceuticals, new compounding procedures, quality control methods and participation in clinical trials

A Variety of Employment Opportunities
Nuclear Pharmacists work in a wide variety of settings:

  • Nuclear pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Academia
  • Industry
  • Government and private research institutes.

Salaries in nuclear pharmacy are commensurate with compensation packages of non-nuclear pharmacists. In situations requiring special expertise, salaries may be higher.

Nuclear pharmacists can receive training by attending a nuclear pharmacy program in various schools of pharmacy and practice experience through a nuclear pharmacy. The colleges listed below offer nuclear pharmacy programs (subject to change; contact local school of pharmacy for current status of program):

  • University of Arkansas
  • Butler University
  • Duquesne University
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy
  • Mercer University
  • University of New Mexico
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Purdue University
  • Medical University of South Carolina
  • Temple University
  • University of Utah

Upon successful completion of a nuclear pharmacist training program, nuclear pharmacists can be certified through an examination offered by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS). Such nuclear pharmacists are then designated as Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacists (BCNP). For more information, see related links below.

Additional information on nuclear pharmacy can be found online (see below)

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