About the Program
The Nuclear Medicine Advanced Associate (NMAA) program, graduates of which earn the Master of Imaging Science (MIS) degree, is offered through an educational consortium formed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in cooperation with the Georgia Regents University (GRU) in Augusta, Georgia; University of Missouri at Columbia (UMC); and Saint Louis University (SLU) in St. Louis, Missouri. UAMS is the degree-granting institution and administers this three-state, four-institution collaborative. The four institutions, each of which currently offers a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine technology, cooperatively participate in curriculum development, course instruction, and the supervision and assessment of NMAA interns.
The NMAA program is the second educational track of the Master of Imaging Science (MIS) degree to be offered through the Department of Imaging and Radiation Sciences at UAMS. The Radiologist Assistant (RA) program was the first approved track of the MIS program which was designed to accommodate multiple educational tracks as the demand for advanced practitioners in specific imaging specialties emerge [e.g., radiology; nuclear medicine; diagnostic medical sonography; and fusion imaging, such as positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT)]. Student interns enroll in common core courses that address basic educational needs for advanced practitioners across the imaging disciplines, such as patient care, pharmacology, pathophysiology, health care systems, and research. Discipline-specific clinical internship courses for nuclear medicine and radiology include courses, experiences, and curricular expectations that focus on specialized areas of imaging.
The NMAA program is designed for distance students and is delivered using a combination of online instruction and clinical instruction at facilities affiliated with UAMS and the consortium partners. Clinical instruction will, to a large extent, normally take place at the intern’s place of employment, but it may also require the intern to travel to other sites to obtain all the clinical competencies needed for program completion and for eligibility to sit for the appropriate national board examinations. When interns cannot complete all clinical requirements at a single location, the program director will assist them in making arrangements at appropriate additional locations. This educational model takes advantage of educational technology to allow experienced nuclear medicine technologists to update their knowledge and upgrade their skills in their current work place without the burden of relocating.
In accordance with requirements for clinical education, a physician preceptor agreement and an affiliate agreement must be completed for each NMAA intern. During the clinical internship, interns will continually be under the supervision of a physician preceptor who will determine the capacity of the student to perform any specific function, procedure, or clinical expectation. Preceptors will be responsible for the NMAA interns’ clinical experiences, and will help the NMAAs plan the activities for each clinical internship course. The preceptors will model and teach interns patient management skills, procedures, and how to make meaningful commentaries regarding their observations of diagnostic images to meet the requirements of the NMAA program. The required clinical competencies will be based on the SNM-approved competencies, although additional skills may be expected of, and taught to, NMAA interns as deemed appropriate.
As indicated above, interns will have academic as well as clinical responsibilities during their internship courses. The teaching techniques that will be utilized in these courses may include physician-guided instruction, reading assignments, written assignments, Internet searches, case studies, image reviews, discussion, lectures, conferences, presentations, written examinations, and oral examinations. These experiences will be supervised by NMAA faculty members in cooperation with the physician preceptors. Internships will include clinical skill enhancement in patient care, general nuclear medicine, cardiology, oncology, therapy, and elective procedures as well as competencies in interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement (evidence-based decision making), and systems-based practice. Physician preceptors will work directly with interns for a minimum of 24 clinical hours each week as part of each clinical education course.
Admission to the program is competitive and based on the following criteria:
- Academic achievement
- Academic aptitude
- Written and oral communication
- Professional experience
- Career goals