Nuclear Medicine Physician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Diagnoses and treats diseases using radioactive materials and techniques. May monitor radionuclide preparation, administration, and disposition.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Prepares comprehensive interpretive reports of findings.
  • Checks and approves the quality of diagnostic images before patients are discharged.
  • Establishes and enforces radiation protection standards for patients and staff.
  • Interprets imaging data and confers with other medical specialists to formulate diagnoses.
  • Prescribes radionuclides and dosages to be administered to individual patients.
  • Reviews procedure requests and patients' medical histories to determine applicability of procedures and radioisotopes to be used.
  • Directs nuclear medicine technologists or technicians regarding desired dosages, techniques, positions, and projections.
  • Determines appropriate tests or protocols based on patients' needs or conditions.
  • Compares nuclear medicine procedures with other types of procedures such as computed tomography, ultrasonography, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, and angiography.
  • Monitors handling of radioactive materials to ensure that established procedures are followed.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Exposed to radiation more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Physician -- Diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries, and other disorders and work to promote good health and prevent illness.