Salford celebrates 30 years of its nuclear medicine master’s programme

Categories: School of Health and Society

Salford’s MSc/PgDip Nuclear Medicine Imaging programme celebrates its tricennial anniversary this month.

Led by Professor Peter Hogg, the MSc in Nuclear Medicine (MSc NM) was validated at the University of Salford in early November 1993. This was a landmark event, with the course being the first master’s to be validated for health-related vocational programmes at the university and only the second programme of its kind for radiographers to be validated in the UK.

It has proved consistently popular over the years and is now the longest continually running health-related vocational master’s programme at the university, fulfilling service needs by delivering qualified nuclear medicine professionals from radiographer and technologist backgrounds.

Dr Rob Higgins, Programme Leader for the MSc/PGDip Nuclear Medicine says: “I believe the success of the programme is due to the people associated with it, including University academics Dr Andrew Tootell (Senior lecturer in radiography and previous Programme Leader), Katy Szczepura (Associate Professor in Medical Imaging Physics) and well-respected experts in the field such as Prof Richard Lawson (retired Physicist) and Dr Ian Armstrong (Consultant Physicist, Manchester Foundation Trust). The programme teaching team continues to be large and multi-professional, representing the diverse academic, scientific and clinical disciplines associated with the subject. 

“Nuclear medicine and radiology managers continue to provide their support, by recommending it to staff wishing to train in the subject. Importantly, our students continue to be committed and aspire to achieve its standards and outcomes. However, we also recognise that this programme would not have been able to be delivered without a multi-professional approach and the university is indebted to all those who have supported it over the past 30 years.”

The programme has always offered students the opportunity to develop their scope of practice in a specialised area to help meet the needs of an expanding health service. Advanced courses related to the programme have included a reporting course and ongoing non-medical cardiac stressing course. Content on the programme has also continued to keep pace with clinical practice to equip both nuclear medicine radiographers and technologists with current skills and knowledge.

Rob explains that the anniversary offers an opportunity to reflect but also to look to the future: “Many graduates of our programme have gone on to gain senior positions in clinical departments, industry and in education and research. It is important to acknowledge their achievements as well as the support of past and present academic staff and external lecturers and practitioners who have seen the programme through many changes and challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we look forward to celebrating our current student cohort successes and reflect on 30 years of the programme, we are also looking at further developments to ensure it remains current and reflects the future demands of the nuclear medicine workforce. The diversity of roles within nuclear medicine linked to imaging and treatment continues to grow, and I feel we may see even more developments in oncology, neurology, and cardiology as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

“However, in among all these upcoming developments it is important to ensure patient-centred care remains at the forefront to ensure a positive patient experience in nuclear medicine, helping to alleviate patient anxiety and raise knowledge of the increasingly integral role nuclear medicine plays with patient management in healthcare.”

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