I've just stumbled upon this thread and find it very interesting that residents would actually be writing the ACGME to try to end their specialty.
The truth is, nothing discussed here is new and could have been easily researched on message boards before you entered the residency. So while I certainly feel for your situation, you do have to research something fully, particularly a huge commitment like residency.
The things you are talking about here aren't going to work. I admire your will, but there is a lot of naivete here. My advice is to make sure you are anonymous before you organize against your own specialty, because burning bridges can only hurt you, and most of you probably aren't in a position where you can afford that. Other physicians have completed residencies in medicine and surgery and then decided to do radiology (I even know of physicans who practiced many years and then entered radiology residency), so you are not unique if end up having to do another residency. So really, you should just try to finish up your nucs training with good references, and move on.
The primary thing to realize is that nuclear medicine is controlled by radiology in the US, and that will not change.
I'm a practicing radiologist who did a 1 year nuc med fellowship after residency, both ABR and ABNM certified. I'm the author of a (I like to think) fairly widely used textbook in an area of nuclear medicine. I have practiced in both academic and private practice settings, currently in private practice. I've trained both radiologists and nonradiologists in nuclear medicine.
I can provide some perspective on nuclear medicine training vs radiology nuc med training. I've trained and trained with several nonradiologist nuc med physicians who were excellent. However, the best case scenario is that this physician also has a clinical background outside of pure nucs, such as internal medicine or cardiology. For example, I have encountered cardiologists who have full nucs fellowship who are good in nucs and very strong in nuclear cardiology, their clinical background certainly helps them. So I think that if you do not have radiology training, you should have training in a clinical specialty, rather than just straight nucs. Either that, or have a PhD which allows you to do high level research. Both these backgrounds also help with the job problem.
As to those who think that 4 months of nucs training in radiology is not adequate - yes and no. In my experience, if the issue is producing a read that gives the basic information, a radiologist with 4 months of training can do that. The primary deficiency is understanding. I find that many radiology residents don't really understand nucs beyond a very simplistic level. For example, understanding why things are done, and how to adjust things when there is a problem. Fortunately, you can do a lot of things in medicine without full understanding. Another deficiency is research, even rads who specialize in nucs don't tend to do much of it - which is why most of this will be done outside the US, which is not a big deal. Now there are some people in radiology who say that you should have fellowship training to read almost anything - which is why radiology has moved to a much more specialized boards system. In the future, there will be fewer rads doing nucs who only have 4 months of training. However, from a practical perspective, there can't be specialized coverage of everything, and that includes nucs.
However, I find that radiology training - not just CT training - has been tremendously helpful for me in nucs. Again, you do not "need" it to produce a read that give the basic information. But it can add definite additional value at some times. So it is really the same issue here as that of 4 months of training. Is not having a radiology background for nucs ideal? No. Is 4 months of training ideal? No. But we usually don't have ideal IRL.
Last edited by heidegger1; 12-06-2010 at 10:40 PM.