PET/MR Requires New Technologist Standards

Nuclear medicine and MR technologists recommend regulations around education, certification and staffing for the new hybrid technology.

Hybrid PET/MR imaging has presented challenges for technologists in the two disciplines, raising questions about education, certification and staffing.

“PET/MR is quickly moving into the diagnostic arena, and technologists are faced with several questions,” said David Gilmore, MS, CNMT, NCT, RT(R)(N), FSNMMI-TS. “What knowledge must technologists have to perform these scans? How will they be certified? How will this impact state licensure?”

To address these issues, the Society of Nuclear Medicine Technologist Section (SNMMI-TS) and the Section for Magnetic Resonance Technologists (SMRT) formed a task force and published a consensus paper with recommendations for regulations. Gilmore chairs this task force.

Technologists for both specialties recommended that additional advanced education is needed to perform PET/MR, such as a master’s program. The group recommended that a new specialty certification exam should be considered to show competency in this modality.

PET/MR technologists should be licensed in states in which nuclear medicine and MR licensure exists, the group said. A set number of credits in nuclear medicine/PET and MR imaging should be created by the three certifying organizations.

In this guidance paper, the group endorsed the ACR’s stance that at least two MR technologists or at least one MR technologist and MR personnel should be present during the exam. During training and certification, a facility may opt to have a certified PET technologist and MR technologist present if they both have training in radiation and MR safety.

“SMRT and SNMMI-TS have taken the first steps in identifying the key points and collaboration needed to successfully transition to a new breed of PET/MR technologists,” said, Cindy R. Comeau, BS, CNMT, RT(N)(MR), FSMRT, SMRT External Relations Liaison and task force co-chair.