Rachel, Nuclear Medicine Physicist
I provide medical physics support to the development of new imaging agents throughout the preclinical, clinical and post-marketing phases. The key responsibility is the scientific and technical support of clinical trials of new diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) agents being conducted in Europe and Asia.
A third of my time is dedicated to travel. In fact, in 2006 I made 50 trips! On a typical day, I would fly to a European destination where I am usually met by a colleague living nearby. We will travel to the hospital together where we’ll meet various site personnel including doctors and physicists. I will guide the team through what is required of them in terms of the technology aspects of the clinical trial. I will supervise most of the day’s activities including Investigational Medicinal Product (IMP) preparation, dosing and patient scanning.
I have more responsibility. I now lead the technology team on one of our Phase I projects.
I have a BSc (Hons) in Physics with Medical Physics. I then went on to become a trainee clinical scientist within the NHS.
The training scheme involved two years in-service training, incorporating an accredited MSc in Medical Radiation Physics, leading to the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine Clinical Science Postgraduate Diploma. The training had an emphasis on acquisition of knowledge and basic practical training. It consisted of substantial periods of attachment in three major subject areas namely Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound and Radiotherapy, together with shorter acquaintanceship periods in a number of other specialities within Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering.
Many colleagues within my group have PhDs. Therefore, a PhD would definitely be advantageous.
It may be possible to undertake a PhD on part-time basis. There are lots of opportunities to take various courses within the company including management courses.
When I finished my training within the NHS, I decided that I wanted to work within the nuclear medicine field. The role as a nuclear medicine physicist was advertised and it just happened to be within the pharmaceutical industry.
Not great to be honest. People work long hours and most of my colleagues travel many hours to get to work. So my social life doesn’t start until the weekend!
I am proud of the fact that I can make a difference to patients’ lives
Scientific, technical and people skills are very important!
Get a PhD in a relevant subject!