How should I prepare myself in high school to enter in nuclear medicine programs?
I am a junior in high school wanting to get into nuclear medicine. I have only taken anatomy and physiology, no other medical classes.
I am a neuroscience major in college right now and I came into this field only in my sophomore year. I changed my majors in my sophomore year due to my immense Interest in Neurocognition and AI. While in Highschool, I recommend you - focus on your school work and keep your grades up to open your doors to getting into good undergraduate schools with nuclear medicine programs. Usually, they look for students who seem passionate about their goals and have a basic idea about what they want they want to do with their future.
As s STEM major, I encourage you to take classes related to nuclear medicine but also remember that you will have to make these choices when you get into the college program with nuclear medicine. For now just explore colleges that offer nuclear medicine and their pre reqs.
Nuclear medicine is one specific field of study in medicine which shares the same foundation as many others. I would suggest that you work with your university advisor and narrow down a list of schools that offer strong medicine programs for radiology and nuclear medicine. These programs will prepare you for a career path in nuclear medicine, or give you access to other opportunities if you change your mind down the line.
In high school, keep your focus on high grades. That is top priority now, not special courses. Follow traditional pre-med education. When you reach junior year of college would be an ideal time to refine your interests and seek advice from a university career counselor, or one of your professors. At that time, I encourage exploring what school to attend after first degree, as that exploration will open more windows for you. All the best to you in your pursuit.
Practically, I'd imagine med school will cover the basic nuclear medicine physics you need to know, so you probably don't need to worry about doing masses of physics through school, but it's probably quite beneficial to have a good understanding of some of the basics of radiation science - things like understanding inverse square laws, exponential decay and half-lives, and perhaps getting an awareness of some of the different units and measurements involved in radiation and how to convert between them - I'd therefore suggest you consider mixing in a number of basic physics and perhaps some relevant more advanced physics classes along with your more medically-related studies in biology, chemistry, anatomy etc.