Welcome to the Nuclear Medicine Residency Training Program at Rush University Medical Center and Rush Medical College at Chicago, Illinois. The program is fully accredited by ACGME. Our goal is to encourage, help and facilitate professional development of motivated trainees to become competent and successful nuclear medicine physicians by providing them with solid teaching, guidance and a working environment conducive to successfully achieving their goals.
Rush University Medical Center: We are a large tertiary care teaching hospital located on Chicago's Near West Side. The Medical Center complex includes extensive inpatient and outpatient facilities, research and academic facilities for Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College, the Laurance Armour Day School (caring for children of employees and students), and the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center. Of particular importance to Nuclear Medicine are the institution's strong clinical and research programs in cardiology, oncology, hepatology, infectious disease, organ (heart, kidney, liver, and lung) and bone marrow transplantation.
The Section of Nuclear Medicine: We are part of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. Approximately 7,000 nuclear medicine procedures are performed annually, using a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Imaging equipment includes four state of the art dual-head SPECT cameras, two dedicated whole-body scanning scintillation cameras, one single head large field of view camera, one portable camera and a dedicated whole body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The section has been performing clinical PET examinations using fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose since 1994.
Nuclear Medicine Training Programs: Several pathways are available for applicants with different prior training background.
- Three-year nuclear medicine residency program. The applicant must have at least one year of prior training in fundamental clinical education in a program accredited by ACGME or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or equivalent.
- Two-year program for residents who have completed an accredited patient care specialty residency.
- One-year program for residents who have completed an accredited program in Diagnostic Radiology.
All training programs provide trainees with the education and clinical experience necessary to attain competence to perform and interpret diagnostic and therapeutic procedures employed by the discipline. Emphasis is also placed on the relationship of nuclear medicine procedures to other diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.
This is accomplished by providing each trainee with:
- A didactic program covering the discipline of Nuclear Medicine and pertinent related material
- An opportunity to participate in a busy Nuclear Medicine practice performing a wide range of procedures
- Exposure to patients with a wide variety of diseases
- Opportunity (and encouragement) to participate in research activity
Didactic lectures encompass radiopharmacy/radiochemistry, radiation safety and dosimetry, nuclear medicine physics, radiobiology and clinical procedures. However, the two clinical interpretation conferences conducted daily are the centerpieces of the clinical training program. These include the reporting conference for general nuclear medicine procedures and the nuclear cardiology conference. Most of the cases are dictated by residents. Final clinical reports are generated during these conferences. The general conference lasts most of the morning; the studies from the previous day are read, and residents are called on to defend their preliminary reports. Discussions range from correlative studies to basic science issues having a bearing on features of the study at hand. The nuclear cardiology studies are read during the afternoon at a conference similar to the general morning conference, with cardiology fellows in attendance. The nuclear cardiology conferences are conducted by nuclear medicine physicians three days per week and attending cardiologists two days per week, providing trainees a balanced exposure to both the clinical and technical aspects of nuclear cardiology. The nuclear cardiology studies are performed in collaboration with the Section of Cardiology. Stress portions of studies are performed by cardiology service; nuclear medicine personnel perform imaging portions.
Trainee responsibilities include the following:
- Attendance at didactic lectures with understanding of the material as demonstrated by exams (when given).
- Attendance at and participation in the morning and afternoon interpretation conferences, defending preliminary reports written in the patient's chart.
- Officer-of-the-day (OD). This responsibility is shared with radiology residents who rotate through the Section of Nuclear Medicine. The OD is responsible for clinical activities within the section during that day. The OD advises and consults with referring housestaff and attending physicians with respect to appropriate studies for the problems at hand, extracting pertinent clinical and laboratory information while supervising individual studies. He or she is responsible for checking clinical studies for completeness and for writing a preliminary report in the patient's hospital chart at the conclusion of the study.
- Emergency coverage - by pager. Home call is taken for a week at a time; most emergency scans are performed on weekends with an occasional weeknight study. Responsibility for call is shared with the nuclear medicine attending staff and senior radiology residents. When a resident is on call, an attending physician is on back up call. Interpretation of most studies is performed from home via teleradiology.
- Research by trainees is encouraged but not required. Residents participate in ongoing projects or may pursue their own project. The majority of residents do publish in peer-reviewed journals, half of them more than once, and most as primary authors.