The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) has released a new online course designed to provide cardiovascular and other nuclear medicine physicians with the knowledge needed to establish a culture of safety and quality in their nuclear imaging laboratories. The program, known as the ASNC/SNMMI 80 Hour Radionuclide Authorized User Training Course, will fulfill the 80 hours of classroom training that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Agreement States require for physicians to become authorized users of radioisotopes for imaging and localization studies.

In the U.S., cardiovascular nuclear medicine physicians must meet several requirements before they are permitted to handle the radioisotopes used in nuclear imaging tests for diagnosing and risk-stratifying patients. These requirements are defined by the NRC as well as other organizations.

The NRC’s requirements for becoming an “Authorized User in Imaging and Localization Studies” are spelled out under 10 CFR 35.290. Physicians who wish to independently practice nuclear cardiology also must meet the requirements of the COCATS 4: Task Force 6: Training in Nuclear Cardiology, Level 2, which incorporates the NRC’s requirements as well as other clinical components. In addition, the Certification Board of Nuclear Cardiology requires candidates to document that they have met the Nuclear Cardiology COCATS Level 2 requirements before taking the Nuclear Cardiology Board Examination.

“This course brings together the world’s experts in nuclear cardiology to create a one-of-a-kind learning experience for this critical topic,” says James Case, PhD, MASNC, course co-director. “Trainees will learn how to apply the fundamentals of nuclear safety to real clinical imaging situations.”

The ASNC/SNMMI 80 Hour Radionuclide Authorized User Training Course provides physicians with a comprehensive learning experience developed by more than 40 members of the societies’ joint task force and the world-renowned authorities who deliver the lectures on radiation protection and safe radioisotope handling, physics and instrumentation, radiochemistry and radiopharmaceuticals, radiation biology, and nuclear medicine mathematics and statistics.

The training course is a valuable new tool for nuclear cardiology training programs in that it complements the hands-on experience provided by nuclear cardiology and nuclear medicine training.

“As someone who is closely involved with education of radiology, nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology trainees, I’ve long believed we’re missing a key element in preparing our workforce on some of the basics in radionuclide knowledge and technique,” says Vasken Dilsizian, MD, MASNC, course co-director and past president of SNMMI. “A partnership between two of our leading professional societies, leveraging the expertise of their members and the organizational skills of their experienced staff, has provided an extraordinarily productive environment for creation of this rich and rigorous new resource.” 

The ASNC/SNMMI 80 Hour Radionuclide Authorized User Training Course is delivered using best practices for distance learning. Content is strategically organized to increase learner retention, including   purposeful learning objectives and access to targeted feedback. The self-paced, asynchronous delivery method allows learners to build on prior knowledge and master content.

Physicians access the course via ASNC’s new learning management system, which makes it easy for learners to navigate the 93 modules of video and slide presentations, take board-exam-style self-assessment quizzes and revisit content as needed to increase comprehension. Learners also may post questions for faculty from within the course platform as well as download support materials. Physicians who successfully finish the course will receive a Certificate of Completion.