nuclear medicine :: Education
The Nuclear Medicine division is affiliated to two teaching institutions, namely Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
The registrars specialising in Nuclear Medicine are trained through the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of SU. The training programme includes anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, physics and instrumentation, radiopharmacy and clinical nuclear medicine. During the four-year training period the registrars also deliver a clinical service to patients referred to the Nuclear Medicine department of Tygerberg Academic Hospital and other hospitals and clinics. Upon completion of the training programme they obtain an MMed degree from SU.
The final exams for the MMed (Nuclear Medicine) are written through the College of Nuclear Physicians (CNP) of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA), obtaining a fellowship of the CNP. After completion of a research assignment, the students also obtain the MMed (NucMed) from SU.
Prof J Warwick is the secretary of the CNP and Prof A Ellmann serves on the council of the CNP. Prof Warwick is also a member of the senate of the CMSA. Most registrars have in recent years successfully been admitted as fellows of the College of Nuclear Physicians of South Africa.
Nuclear Medicine also offers a BSc Honours and MSc in Nuclear Medicine. This course is also open to scientists and pharmacists. This qualification does not lead to a medical specialist registration in South Africa. However a number of qualified medical practitioners from outside South Africa have enrolled for these courses.
Lectures on Nuclear Medicine applications are also given to undergraduate medical students during their clinical training. Apart from the lectures presented during the theoretical modules, the students also rotate through the department during middle clinical rotations.
The CPUT provides training for radiographers. The Radiography School is situated on the premises of Tygerberg Hospital and both the clinical and practical training are offered on site. This leads to excellently trained radiographers. They can obtain a diploma in Nuclear Medicine after a three year training period. Radiographers with a qualification in either diagnostic or therapeutic radiography can obtain a second qualification (a BTech degree) in Nuclear Medicine after two additional years of training.
The International Atomic Energy Agency regularly sends fellows from Africa for training in Nuclear Medicine. The physicians enroll for the MMed (NucMed) and the scientists for the MSc in Nuclear Medicine, while technologists (radiographers) can enroll at the CPUT for either the National diploma or the BTech degree in Nuclear Medicine. Some fellows are sent for shorter training periods and will not enroll for official training programmes.