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Nuclear Medicine Physician Vs. Pediatrician

Nuclear medicine physicians and pediatricians are members of the healthcare field. During medical school and residency training, they specialized in different types of patients and treatments. Learn more about the similarities and differences between these two medical professionals.

Comparing Nuclear Medicine Physicians to Pediatricians

Pediatricians are doctors who see healthy children and other young people who might require treatment for a wide range of maladies. Nuclear medicine physicians work with patients of all ages who require tests or treatments carried out with radioactive materials.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Nuclear Medicine Physicians Doctoral Degree $206,920 13% (Physicians and Surgeons, all other)
Pediatricians Doctoral Degree $168,990 17% (Pediatricians, general)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Nuclear Medicine Physicians vs. Pediatricians

Healthcare providers are responsible for tracking patients' health by utilizing charts, and this is true for nuclear medicine physicians and pediatricians. The former has extensive training in the use of radiopharmaceuticals to treat and diagnose diseases. The latter focuses on keeping young people healthy, whether that means basic checkups or treating childhood illnesses. It is important to note that these two careers may overlap if a child is in need of radiology treatments.

Nuclear Medicine Physicians

Cancer and issues with hearts, stomachs, livers, and kidneys are diagnosed and treated by nuclear medicine physicians. These doctors are trained in the newest methods of utilizing radioactive materials, either injected into or swallowed by the patient, to attack cancer cells. Additionally, special images of organs can be taken after these physicians place these dense, radioactive elements into a patient. They then study the images and interpret any abnormalities before discussing these findings with the patients.

Job responsibilities of a nuclear medicine physician include:

  • Checking that the amount of radioactive material used on a patient is correct given their age, health, and other factors
  • Ordering further testing to be done by radiology technicians
  • Ensuring diagnostic images are complete and clear, making interpretation as accurately as possible
  • Designing a chemotherapy treatment plan and discussing the risks with patients

Pediatricians

Babies, toddlers, and young adults see these special doctors who are trained in their unique biology. Aware of growing, developing bodies, as well as the changes experienced by prepubescents, these doctors treat broken bones and care for fevers that could endanger a child. Pediatricians may keep the records of the same patients as they move from infancy to adulthood, allowing them to become experts on their health. They may also study pediatric surgery, allowing them to perform procedures such as cleft pallet surgery.

Job responsibilities of a pediatrician include:

  • Giving vaccinations and flu shots to those under eighteen
  • Writing prescriptions for cold medicine, antibiotics, and other medications, as well as ordering tests
  • Advising families on proper nutrition and care for children
  • Caring for premature newborns

Related Careers

Anyone interested in a position as a nuclear medicine physician may also be curious about a job as a radiation physicist, as both help patients through the use of radiology. If you are drawn to a position as a pediatrician, you may want to look into a career as an elementary teacher, because both work closely with children.

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