In Poland, there is no specialisation for nurses within nuclear medicine. However, knowledge of the delivery procedures, radioprotection rules and waste management of radioligand therapies is important for nurses who are involved in delivering these treatments every day. Training courses have therefore been created to ensure nurses understand radioligand therapy, so that they can effectively support delivery and communicate with patients.


Nurses are integral to the delivery of radioligand therapy, assisting nuclear medicine technologists and physicians.1 In addition, patients may feel more comfortable directing their questions to nurses, who are their main point of contact.1 As nurses have a key role in alleviating the anxiety around radiation that patients often experience,2 it is important that they are fully aware of the procedure and are confidently able to explain it to patients.

In Poland, there is no nuclear medicine specialisation for nurses.1 Instead, nurses working collaboratively with nuclear medicine need to obtain certain additional certifications.1 For many years, departments have been training nurses for these certifications internally.1 In 2019, a specialist national-level course titled ‘Caring for a patient undergoing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with the use of open sources of radiation’ was created to provide formal qualifications to enable nurses to work in nuclear medicine centres.3 The 67-hour course delivers training on diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in nuclear medicine, the principles of working with open sources of radiation and radiation protection regulations.3 4 It also provides essential information on radiation safety and waste management for the various isotopes used for different types of radioligand therapy.1 2 The training involves theoretical classes and 35 hours of practical sessions at the Department of Nuclear Medicine of the Military Institute of Medicine.3

What has been achieved?

The training has received a good uptake from nurses, with approximately 25 nurses taking part.1 The Supreme Council of Nurses and Midwives has endorsed the course, which has also been approved by the Director of the Centre for Postgraduate Education of Nurses and Midwives.3

The training provides nurses with the knowledge and hands-on experience they need to support the delivery of radioligand therapy effectively.1 It has helped nurses feel more comfortable being part of the delivery process and better equipped them to communicate with patients.1 An increased knowledge of radiation protection measures, such as those included in the course, has also been associated with better performance in the behaviours around radiation protection, ultimately increasing the quality of the health services provided.5

The course has directly helped raise awareness of radioligand therapy among nurses. Indirectly, nurses who have taken part in the course have also gone on to provide peer-to-peer learning, ultimately raising the profile of radioligand therapy further.1

Future relevance

The training is nationally specific and recognises different roles, skills and responsibilities across the team. Training in nuclear medicine and nursing varies significantly among countries. Although this course is focused on the situation in Poland,1 it could be adapted and applied based on the training and expertise of nurses in other countries. Teaching an adapted version of the course in different departments could also help upskill other members of the multidisciplinary team who may not be familiar with radioligand therapy.1

Although the training stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to continue in future years.1

Further information

  1. Kunikowska J. 2022. Interview with Oriana Carswell at The Health Policy Partnership [videoconference]. 25/10/22
  2. Purden J. 2019. Nuclear medicine 1: technique, indications and the nurse’s role [online]. Nursing Times. Available from: [Accessed 23/09/22]
  3. Military Institute of Medicine. Kurs z Medycyny Nuklearnej dla Pielęgniarek Available from: [Accessed 23/09/22]
  4. Teresińska A, Birkenfeld B, Królicki L, et al. 2014. Nuclear medicine training and practice in Poland. European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 41(10): 1995-9
  5. Park S, Yang Y. 2021. Factors Affecting Radiation Protection Behaviors among Emergency Room Nurses. Int J Environ Res Public Health: 10.3390/ijerph18126238