New Equipment at Amarillo College

Nuclear medicine students received a new gamma camera for hands-on practice before they enter the medical field.

amarillo college students using a new gamma camera
Student Jamie Lewis operates a nuclear medicine machine Tuesday as instructor Tamra Roscsko helps strap in Caitlin Clark, another student.

In January 2012, the Nuclear Medicine Technology program at Amarillo College’s west campus received new technology that will change the way students learn in today’s world. The new technology is a Gamma camera. A Gamma camera is a medical devise used to image radiation emitting radioisotopes.

Nuclear Medicine Technology identifies pathology like tumors, and cists – and looks at function of the organs, said Mark Rowh, Dean of Health Science programs. “Basically we inject radio pharmaceuticals that are labeled chemically to send them to the part of the body that you want to image.” When a patient gets injected, the patient becomes radioactive. Radioactivity then comes out of their body, and that’s how the camera works. The camera picks up the radiation that comes out of the patient’s body, then it forms a picture on the computer screen, said Mr. Rowh.

Before the Gamma camera, students who were enrolled in the program had a camera in their classroom. Now that the program has brand new technology in the lab, it gives students the ability to have hands-on training with the camera before they go to their clinical sites, and they can come back from their clinical sites and practice in the lab as well, said Mr. Rowh.

Tamara Rocsko is the new course instructor in the Nuclear Medicine Department. The new technology is amazing, said Tamara Rocsko. Tamara went through the Nuclear Medicine program here at Amarillo College and graduated in 1996. She recalls how helpful it would have been if they had a Gamma camera and a Hot Lab to get hands-on with before she started her clinical site. “So, it’s invaluable,” said Tamara Rocsko. The Hot Lab is where the class receives radioactive material. The material has to be assessed in the Hot Lab before they can use it under the camera.

Kristen Weber is the lab assistant in the Nuclear Medicine Technology program. This is her second year in the program. She plans to go further in her education, and possibly be a PA and eventually get her Ph.D. Her job is to keep daily quality checks on the Gamma camera. Ms. Weber’s job is also to assist the students on processing images, helping them calibrate the camera, and to show them how to safely use the radiation material. Nuclear medicine has a great advantage over the way we used to see medicine.

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