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Behind the Scenes of Nuclear Medicine with Mary Myers

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Behind the Scenes of Nuclear Medicine with Mary Myers

Meet Mary Myers, BS, CNMT, manager of Nuclear Medicine, PET, and CT for Valley Health System, Winchester Medical Center. With her 16 years of experience in the field, Mary has a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities of working in this niche and crucial area of medical imaging.

Initially unsure about her career path, Mary's interest in science and helping others led her to her school's pre-professional track, which covered various science disciplines for those exploring different career options. During a meeting with her school's guidance counselor, Mary learned about the nuclear medicine field.

Intrigued by the intersection of science, technology, and patient care, she chose to pursue a career in nuclear medicine.

Nuclear medicine has been around for a while, since 1896 when mysterious “rays” were discovered coming from Uranium, but only officially recognized as a medical specialty in 1971. Today, Nuclear Medicine remains a specialized and relatively lesser-known field within the realm of medical imaging. While X-rays, MRI, and CAT scans are widely recognized, nuclear medicine, which involves using radiopharmaceuticals to visualize physiological processes within the body, remains less understood by the general public.

"Imaging techs like x-ray and echo techs are asking, "What do we see?" Nuclear Techs are asking, "How does it work, and why does it work that way?" We question everything, and we're incredibly detail oriented." - Mary Myers

Did You Know? Nuclear medicine techniques have even found applications in archaeology. Carbon-14 dating, a form of nuclear medicine, is used to determine the age of organic materials, such as fossils and ancient artifacts.

Mary's journey into nuclear medicine led her to realize that the field is fascinating and well-compensated. However, awareness about the career path and its demand remains low among the general population.

Most people are unaware that becoming a nuclear medicine tech is a viable career that takes only 12 months beyond an associate degree (with a concentration in science or healthcare) and is one of the highest-paid medical imaging professions.

There are only 16,910 nuclear med techs in the US. With the current population, that means only 0.005% of the population is a nuclear med tech! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average annual wage estimates for this role range from $65,000-$114,000.

The transitioning from a nuclear medicine tech to a manager was smooth thanks to her previous manager/director mentor team of Patrick Cook and Jeff Behnecke. In her current role, Mary oversees the coordination and management of nuclear medicine operations at Winchester Medical Center. This includes managing a team of nuclear medicine techs, ensuring smooth workflow, and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

"My biggest challenge has been keeping our unit fully staffed since COVID. I know this is a common challenge and healthcare systems nationwide are struggling. I believe if more people knew about this role, those naturally inclined would pursue this field of study. For me, it's been an incredibly rewarding career," shares Mary.

Mary's dedication to her team and her commitment to finding innovative solutions continue to drive her forward. She highlights the rewarding aspects of the field, such as the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology, the autonomy it offers, and the ability to make a meaningful impact on patients' lives and encourages those who are interested in science and how things work to consider a career in nuclear medicine.

Are you a Nuclear Medicine Tech? We invite you to join our team!

Valley Health is hiring Nuclear Medicine Techs in the Shenandoah Valley, a one-hour scenic drive from Washington, D.C.! Join a fun and experienced team and become part Valley Health, an award-winning healthcare system with 6,000+ caregivers, serving a population of 500,000+ (about half the population of Montana) people in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and Maryland.

Valley Health is currently offering a $20,000 sign-on bonus plus relocation assistance.

Click here to apply.