Airman earns spot in nuclear medicine program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Frances Locquiao
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
An Airman from the 23rd Medical Group recently discovered that he will be a step higher in fulfilling one of his biggest goals in life.

Senior Airman Brian Hermes, 23rd MDG radiology technologist, was selected among many others to fill one of three slots to take part in a joint-service nuclear medicine program at the Nuclear Medicine Technologist School, Naval School of Health Sciences in Portsmouth, Va.

"I was extremely ecstatic when I heard the news," said Airman Hermes. "This is exactly what I wanted to do when I first got into the radiology career field. It's always pleasant when things work out as planned."

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat disease and other abnormalities within body.

The 258-day program, which teaches the fundamentals of nuclear medicine, is broken down into two phases, said Al Harris, the 336th Training Squadron training manager at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

During the first phase, called didactic, students learn principles of mathematics, chemistry and physics as applied to the field of nuclear medicine. Also, a variety of radiology procedures will be taught. This phase lasts 97 days.

The second phase, which lasts 161 days, is a continuation as well as application of principles learned in the didactic phase, which includes clinical training.

In order to be considered for the program, I applied through the Virtual Military Personnel Flight and requested for re-training into nuclear medicine, said Airman Hermes.

The program, however, had several prerequisites to fulfill.

The prerequisites included a grade of E-4 or above, successful completion of Advanced Algebra II, two courses in physical science, recommendation from supervisor and endorsement of squadron commander.

"I recommended Airman Hermes for the program because he displays a drive to progress into a more technologically challenging aspect of the career field," said Master Sgt. Sean Kearley, 23rd MDG NCO in-charge of diagnostic imaging. "He has a very strong work ethic which is not only evident in his job performance, but his participation in squadron/group activities as well."

One of the most important prerequisites is passing a quality control exam. This exam is the military version of accreditation in the radiology field and traditionally has a 23 percent pass rate. Airman Hermes was in the top 3 percent when he took the exam.

"I am very impressed with Airman Hermes' knowledge and skills at this point in his career," said Sergeant Kearley. "He has displayed a propensity to excel in the career field far beyond the criteria of adequate or acceptable performance."

Those individuals who pass the program will then be transferred to a larger Air Force medical facility that can support the staff needed to maintain a nuclear medicine program.

Airman Hermes will begin his first day of class January 2009.

To prepare for his return to school, Airman Hermes is getting back into the studying frame of mind.

"I hope to work hard and make it through the program," he added. "My ultimate career goal is to attend the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland. I've always had a dream to become a cardiothoracic surgeon."