Brady Jens, class of 1992, owns the NuQuest Pharmacy in Grand Junction, Colorado. He shares his insight on what nuclear pharmacists do and how future pharmacists can gain experience in this specialty area of pharmacy practice.
What does a nuclear pharmacist do?
A nuclear pharmacist compounds radioactive isotopes that are used for diagnostic medical testing. The nuclear pharmacy compounds the isotopes, then delivers them to a hospital or clinic. The nuclear medicine technologist at the hospital or clinic performs the nuclear medicine procedure. Then the technologist gives the results of the exam to a physician and they will make a diagnosis based on the results of the exam. The majority of the isotopes that we compound are for nuclear cardiology. If a patient has a suspected blockage in one or more of their coronary arteries, a physician will order a nuclear cardiology exam.
What led you on this career path?
During career day at WSU, the local nuclear pharmacy in Spokane was there interviewing to hire a nuclear pharmacist. I took a tour of the nuclear pharmacy and I was hired there as my first pharmacy job after graduation. Eventually, I went to open my own nuclear pharmacy.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I am helping people by providing accurate diagnostic testing so patients are receiving the best medical information to improve their health.
What is the best career advice you can offer student pharmacists?
If you are interested in learning more about a career in nuclear pharmacy, reach out to the local nuclear pharmacy in the area and see if you can take a tour and shadow the pharmacist to get a better feel for the profession. Most cities with a population over 250,000 will have one or more nuclear pharmacies.