Many large medical centers today employ radiology nurses. These specialists focus on the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of any patient undergoing diagnostic tests or treatments in the radiology (X-ray) departments of hospitals. Radiology nursing professionals generally develop and implement a care plan to help the patient understand and recuperate from prescribed procedures.
Educational Requirements for Radiology Nursing
Prior to seeking employment, a radiology nursing specialist must have the appropriate registered nurse (RN) education from an accredited nursing school, as well as proof of a passing grade on the national licensing examination (the NCLEX-RN). In addition, radiology nurses must complete additional nursing programs in radiologic technology. Many of these nurses work alongside radiologists (MDs) to train for their jobs.
Typically, the educational career path for a radiology nurse entails the pursuit of either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), offered by many community colleges or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) nursing degree. A BSN is appropriate for those who want to advance more quickly in the radiology nursing field. The length of these two nursing programs is two years and four years respectively.
Radiology Nurse Certification
Many schools provide specific courses for students who want to pursue a career in radiology nursing. Upon graduation, a RN can find suitable employment in many radiology departments of acute care hospitals and private clinics at the entry level. After a few years of pertinent radiology job experience, the radiology nurse can take a certification exam to become a “Certified Radiology Nurse” or “CRN”. This added certification is offered by the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing, and it allows the nurse to advance the scope of her job responsibilities. In turn, the nurse gains the ability to independently take on different challenges.
Radiology Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Job opportunities for radiology nurse specialists include working in clinical areas, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT scan), ultrasound, nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, angiography, and mammography. Locations include hospitals, physician offices, surgery centers, gastroenterology clinics, and diagnostic centers.
Annual salaries for radiology nurses are very competitive with respect to nursing industry standards ranging anywhere from $41,600 to $80,000, according to most web sources. This varies according to years of experience, degree status, place of employment, and location of practice.
Job Duties of a Radiology Nurse
A radiology nurse may perform certain examinations and preventative health measures on patients, as instructed by the on-duty radiologist. They will record these interventions and discuss them with the radiologist and/or other members of the health care team. In some cases, a radiology nursing worker assists with the radiological examinations or therapies.
A radiology nurse is considered a “special procedures nurse,” since they care for patients who undergo a wide range of X-ray procedures, as well as assist with the administration of intravenous dyes, rectal contrasting media, and varying forms of sedation. For example, a radiology nursing professional may give a patient who has claustrophobia sedation to help calm them down before an MRI. Radiology nurse specialists provide care to people of all ages from newborn to geriatric patients.
As a radiology nurse, you must show good nursing judgment and initiative plus prove proficiency in your specialized nursing skills. You must be able to work without direct supervision from your employer or coworkers. At the same time, you must always be a team player and look out for the welfare of the patients in your care.