Quick Facts :
Radiology Nurse


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses, May 2017

info-icon ADN or BSN
info-icon $73,550 Annual Wage
info-icon 15% Job Growth
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Steps to Become a Radiology Nurse

Obtain an RN License

To become a radiology nurse, it’s first necessary for you to acquire an ASN or a BSN from an accredited institution. The ASN takes you through a two-year course trek (full time) and the BSN takes you through a four-year course trek (full time). Although both are accepted, for best results, taking classes from a four-year school and receiving a bachelor’s degree, or studying even longer to receive a Master’s degree, will bring about the best results.

Beyond your education in college with book work and seminars, communication and people skills are extremely essential. As a radiology nurse, you will be required to work closely and communicate with a number of other professionals in the medical field and other nurses alike. Most importantly, you will need to know how to communicate with your patients. Since most of your patients will be a quick procedure, you’ll experience a high turnover rate, which makes it a necessity to enjoy people and all different kinds of people.

Pass the NCLEX-RN

After successfully completing courses for a BSN or the ASN, nursing students must qualify to sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN examination before continuing to specialized courses as a radiology nurse. The exam tests skills that aren’t developed through books and classes. It tests common sense and goes through extensive hands-on situations to see how you would handle different problems. Some content for the exam includes, but is not limited to:

  • Accident prevention
  • Resource management
  • Crisis intervention
  • Home safety
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Continuity of care
  • Security plan
  • Lifestyle choices and self-care
  • Cultural awareness
  • Support systems

Gain Experience as an Registered Nurse

The Association for Radiologic & Imaging Nurses offers classes to become certified as a Radiology Nurse. It is necessary to gain experience as an RN first, because you have to be a registered nurse for 2,000 hours, with that time being in radiology, and a minimum 30 hours of additional education in radiology to be eligible for the CRN exam. Radiology centers can provide the extra hours of education and training that you need to become eligible for your exam.

Although there is a lot of work done with the imaging technology, that does not mean Radiology nurses are exempt from normal nursing duties. Radiology nurses are still required to be with their patients before their procedure starts to understand and look for a further diagnosis.

When acquiring this information, there is time spent with the physicians of the patients, studying medical histories and charts and, of course, time spent speaking with the patients themselves. Doing this will help the nurse effectively diagnose what is needed for the patient. Everything must be thoroughly looked over before going through certain processes, like an MRI machine or undergoing an X-Ray.

Knowing what the machines are working with is only half the battle. Radiology nurses, although, aren’t radiology technicians, but still need to know how to work the machines they are using. There are some circumstances wherein the nurse is required to work with the machines and adjust certain levels before having a patient enter these machines.

Following a procedure, there are some patients that might need extra attention that most patients won’t require. The Radiology nurse will be responsible for those patients until they are capable to be discharged.

These are just a few of the things that are necessary to undergo while gaining experience as an RN.

Become a Certified Radiology Nurse

To become eligible for the CRN exam, the candidate must have a current RN license or international licensure equivalent. A current driver’s license or ID is also necessary. You must have 2,000 hours in radiology nursing within three years leading into your exam. You must also have 30 hours of education outside of your BSN or ASN.

The certification fee is $425 for those who aren’t members of the ARIN and $300 for members.

This will be a strenuous process and one that is best done correctly the first time. According to certifiedradiologynurse.org, test content will be as follows.

  • Diagnostic Imaging, Fluoroscopy & Breast Health—15 percent. Includes UGI, BE, ERCP, voiding cystourethrogram, hysterosalpingogram, LP, myelogram, tube checks, mammography, breast MRI, breast US, sterotaxic biopsy.
  • CT and MRI—20 percent. Includes CT scans, coronary CTA, CT/fluoroscopy, MRI, magnetic resonance angiography, biopsies.
  • Interventional Radiology—35 percent. Includes cardiac catheterization, plasties, stents, thrombolysis, thrombocyte, intravascular medication infusions, coils, filters, embolotherapy, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, catheter placement, port placements, angiography, port studies, percutaneous cholangiogram, tumor ablation, transjugular liver biopsy, transjugular intrahepatic portal shunt.
  • Ultrasound/Vascular Ultrasound—15 percent. Includes general, vascular, cardiac ultrasound. Paracentesis, thoracentesis, biopsies, cyst puncture, line placement, thrombin injections for pseudoaneurysms, laser vein ablation, pseudoaneurysm compression, Echo, TEE.
  • Nuclear Medicine, PET and Radiation Therapy—15 percent. Includes isotope studies—thyroid, bone, nuclear medicine, Nuclear cardiology, VQ scan, ACE-inhibitor renogram. Hepatobiliary (HIDA) scans, Isotope therapies.

Preparing for the test is vital, so allow yourself ample study time.

Additional Resources for Radiology Nurses