Kent State Salem Graduates Second Class of Nuclear Medicine Majors
On Friday, Aug.19, 11 nuclear medicine students will graduate from the Kent State University Salem Campus. They will become only the second class of Kent State graduates to attain bachelor’s degrees in radiologic and imaging sciences technology with a concentration in nuclear medicine.
The graduates will enter the workforce as nuclear medicine technologists, an allied health profession currently experiencing a severe nationwide shortage. As such, these specialists will perform safe, painless and cost-effective radiopharmaceutical procedures to image the body and treat disease.
Nuclear medicine is one of four concentrations offered to students who wish to pursue a degree in radiologic and imaging sciences technology, a program exclusive to the Kent State University Salem Campus. Other concentrations in the field include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and diagnostic medical sonography.
The nuclear medicine program at Kent State Salem began in the fall of 2003, after six years of intense planning and development. During the program’s first year, it was accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology, and, in 2004, its accreditation was extended until 2007.
The inaugural nuclear medicine class consisted of nine students who graduated in August 2004. After graduation, the graduates encountered much success: all nine completed two national registry/certification examinations on the first attempt, and all were employed within two months of graduation.
Nuclear medicine courses, which are 12 months long, are taken during the senior year of a four-year bachelor’s degree. Students in the program may choose to pursue the major in one of two ways. They may complete the radiologic technology Associate of Applied Science degree program, followed by liberal education requirement courses and 12 months of nuclear medicine courses. Or, students may choose to complete three years of general courses, including liberal education requirement courses, followed by 12 months of nuclear medicine courses.
Regardless of how students choose to pursue a concentration in nuclear medicine, it is clear the nuclear medicine program at Kent State Salem is unique in its ability to combine classroom theory with hands-on application.
“The nuclear medicine program at Kent State Salem is different from other programs in that it involves both clinical rotations and in-class education at the same time,” says Kelly Kosek, a senior nuclear medicine student. “This gives the students a chance to take the concepts presented to them in class and immediately apply them didactic ally at their clinical education site.”
The 11 nuclear medicine graduates will enter a field whose procedures are essential in many medical specialties, including pediatrics, cardiology and neurology. They will have responsibilities that include: patient interviews, administration of radioactive compounds, execution of patient imaging procedures including computer processing and image enhancement and laboratory testing.
Although other individuals may find the work somewhat challenging, the Kent State Salem graduates will enter the workforce well prepared because of the program’s practical approach to learning. “Rather than just explaining how a procedure is done, the instructors actually show us. This allows more visual and hands-on learning,” says Kosek.
The nuclear medicine program hopes to continue recruiting and enrolling many talented and curious students. “The program is thriving,” says Janice Gibson, senior program director of radiology programs at Kent State Salem. “I am very pleased with the number of students who have applied and with the aptitude of the students who have completed the program.”
This year’s nuclear medicine class is just one example of how Kent State’s continually evolving programs are preparing students for the future. “ I feel very comfortable as a student, and I am confident in my ability to succeed after graduation by applying my education to my future career,” says Kosek.
- Anya R. Cottage