Task force issues recommendations for PET/MR technologist training

A joint task force of the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section and the Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologist has issued a consensus paper for technologists concerning education, certification and staffing requirements for PET/MR imaging.

The task force, realizing that introductory-level educational offerings are filled-to-capacity for both PET and MR, suggested that additional education needed to perform PET/MR be offered in the "form of an advanced-level pathway," such as a master's degree program. It also recommended that the development of a certification examination for this hybrid specialty should be considered.

"PET/MR is quickly moving into the diagnostic arena, and technologists are faced with several questions," David Gilmore, one of the paper's authors and chair of the SNMMI-TS/SMRT Task Force, said in an announcement. "What knowledge must technologists have to perform these scans? How will they be certified? How will this impact state licensure? The aim of this paper was to develop consensus and offer guidance so that the two technologist specialties can work to provide the best patient care possible."

Additionally, the task force called for PET/MR technologists to be licensed in states where nuclear medicine or MR licensure currently exists. It also said that a set number of credits in nuclear medicine/PET and MR imaging should be created by the certifying organizations recognized by the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section and the Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists.

While the ultimate goal in the field should be to have PET/MR imaging technologists trained in both PET and MR, a hybrid approach is acceptable in the short term, the task force said, meaning that certified MR and PET specialists should be present during examinations, as long as they both have training in medical radiation and MR safety.

Gilmore told in DOTmed News that a proactive approach to training technologists for this specialty is needed, since hybrid imaging is becoming increasingly popular. "We see nuclear medicine volumes dropping yet we see spikes in sales for hybrid imaging," Gilmore said. "So we have to educate a different group of individuals."

To learn more:
- see the announcement from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
- read the article in DOTmed News