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Medical Physicist?

  1. Dec 8, 2007 #1
    Are there any medical physicists here? I am trying to decide between a career as a medical physicist or as a nuclear medicine physician (I just finished my undergrad in chemistry, so I think I can still go either way). I think I'm more interested in the physics side of things than the medicine side... but before I decide for sure, I thought I'd ask to see how physicists are regarded in hospital settings.

    Do PhD medical physicists have the same status as MDs in healthcare settings?

    Do you have any recommendations that would influence my decision? Are there any big pros or cons to doing either one or the other?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2007 #2


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    PhDs and MDs are not given the same status in healthcare settings, but that's because they legally can't do the same things. The Ph.D.s might know how everything works, but only MDs are licensed to touch a patient. But, that doesn't mean they don't work closely together in fields like nuclear medicine. A physicist would be working on the research side of things, and if you're doing something where you're testing equipment in an actual clinical setting, not developing the machines in a laboratory, you will have to work with MDs to assist on any clinical studies.

    If you have two specific fields that interest you, and you want to see what's different about them, I suggest contacting people who do that sort of work and see if you can shadow them (on the medical side) or do an internship with them (on the research side) to see what the job is really like and if the job realities fit with your expectations/interests.
  4. Dec 9, 2007 #3
    I've been thinking about going into medical physics too. I live in the UK and I'm currently doing an Mphys in mathematical physics. Does anyone know how easy it would be for me to be accepted into the NHS medical physics training programme? I hear it's quite competitive and my degree doesnt give me a lot of experience in experimental physics.
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