Diagnostic imaging is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose many injuries and illnesses. Oftentimes, special care is necessary for patients undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures. The right type of care will result in more accurate images and increased patient comfort.

Radiology nurses are typically the medical professionals that extend this sort of care.

Earning a BSN is the recommended level of education for this career. See Programs >>

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What is a Radiology Nurse?
What do Radiology Nurses Do?
Where do Radiology Nurses Work?
How do I Become a Radiology Nurse?

What is a Radiology Nurse?

A radiology nurse is a nursing professional that cares for patients that undergo diagnostic imaging procedures and radiation therapy. Radiology nurses may also be referred to as radiologic nurses or medical imaging nurses.

Some of the most common diagnostic imaging tests include x-rays, computed tomography scans (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs), and ultrasounds. These imagining tests enable medical professionals to see inside a patient’s body, making diagnosing illnesses and injuries easier and more accurate. Radiation therapy, on the other hand, is typically used to treat certain illnesses, particularly cancer.

Generally, radiology nurses work as part of a larger team of medical professionals. For instance, they will often work in conjunction with physicians and specialists. They will also work with other nurses and radiology technicians.

The field of radiology and diagnostic imaging is a rapidly advancing technological field. If you’re looking to pursue a nursing career in this field, you must be comfortable working with computers and other types of advanced technology. Radiology nurses should be prepared to keep up with the advances in this field of medicine.

Communication and people skills are also essential. As a radiology nurse, you will be required to work closely and communicate with other medical professionals. You will also experience a high patient turnover rate as well, which means that you will come in contact with all different sorts.

What do Radiology Nurses Do?

Radiology nurses focus on caring for patients in need of radiology procedures. This includes diagnostic imaging procedures, such as x-rays and CT scans, as well as radiation therapy procedures.

Like most other nursing professionals, radiology nurses will often be required to assess their patients prior to their procedures. To do this, they will often study patient medical histories and speak with both the patients and their physicians. These steps will help radiology nurses determine exactly what needs done during a procedure, as well as determine whether a procedure may put a particular patient at risk. For instance, a patient with a cardiac pacemaker is unable to undergo MRI procedures, since the magnetic field used during these procedures could cause the pacemaker to malfunction.

Radiology nurses will also help patients better understand the procedures they need. They will often explain the necessary procedures, for instance, and answer any questions or address any concerns that patients may have. As a radiology nurse, it will also usually be your responsibility to give patients instructions on what to do or not to do before a procedure.

During an appointment, a radiology nurse will often be responsible for preparing the patient for his procedure. Contrast mediums are special substances that help enhance diagnostic images. As a radiology nurse, you will often be responsible for injecting special dyes into patients, administering barium enemas, or getting patients to swallow a barium solution. You may also be responsible for positioning patients, administer light sedation, and monitor patients during the procedures.

Although radiology technicians are the medical professionals that typically operate radiology machines, radiology nurses should also have a good understanding of how these machines work. Not only are they sometimes required to operate the machines, but they are often also required to read diagnostic images or possibly adjust radiation therapy dosages.

Some patients may require special care after their procedures are over. This includes patients that required contrast mediums and sedation, as well as patients who had radiation therapy. Radiology nurses will care for these patients until they are ready to be discharged and give them advice on how to deal with any possible side effects.

Where do Radiology Nurses Work?

Hospitals are the most common employer for radiology nurses. However, dedicated diagnostic imaging facilities and radiation therapy centers also hire radiology nurses on a regular basis.

How do I Become a Radiology Nurse?

The first step toward a career in radiology nursing is becoming a registered nurse. In order to do this, you must first earn your degree in nursing. Although an Associate of Science in Nursing is usually acceptable, most employers prefer applicants with higher degrees, such a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. After you’ve earned your degree, you will then need to pass the National council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

Below is the educational path for a Radiology Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)

Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
Earn a Bachelors DegreeView Programs4 Years Online or Campus
Earn a MSN DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
Earn a PHD or DNPView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

The Association for Radiologic & Imaging Nurses offers certification for radiology nurses. To be eligible to take the Certified Radiology Nurse exam, however, you must be a registered nurse with 2,000 hours of experience in radiology and at least 30 hours of additional education in radiology. You can often pursue continuing radiology education and training through radiology centers.