Many nurses consider turning to the radiology department to create further their career opportunities and a achieve a higher salary. While joining the radiology department may be a desirable destination, it requires a greater skillset gained through a variety of experiences and education. Understanding the responsibilities of a radiology nurse and the education required will help you decide if this is the right career path for you. Here are four important facts that can help you decide if you should seek radiology CME for nurse practitioners.
Understanding Radiology Nursing
Commonly called a medical imaging nurse, a radiology nurse serves as an assistant to the radiologist and provides the communication between the radiologist, the nursing staff, and the patient or patient’s family. They are in charge of using a variety of radiation-based imaging machines, such as x-rays, computed tomography scans (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs), and ultrasounds to provide images inside a patient’s body to diagnose a specific illness to discover an internal injury. In addition to these purposes for diagnostic imaging, the most well-known reason for these scans is to diagnose a variety of cancers.
Advanced Education in Radiology Nursing
Prior to considering becoming a radiology nurse, it is required to become licensed as a registered nurse. Registered nurses are prepared to work within the radiology field with either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). However, those that have achieved a BSN will have an easier path to entering the radiology department and working in a specialty. It typically takes a student about two years to complete an associate’s degree and four years to complete a bachelor’s degree. In most circumstances, you’ll have further your education with a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in order to specialize in radiology. Continuing your education beyond your associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree will prepare you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is required in order to become a radiology nurse. In order to take the certified radiology nurse’s exam, a registered nurse must complete 2,000 hours of work within the radiology department and must have completed at least 30 hours of radiology education.
Radiology Nursing Facilities
Radiology nurses may work in a variety of facilities that have radiology departments. The most common places that they work are hospitals, diagnostic imaging facilities, and outpatient care facilities. This will largely depend on the type of illness or injuries being treated. Hospitals generally deal with more serious conditions which draw more nurses due to the wide variety of opportunities. When working in an outpatient facility, you’ll most commonly use x-ray machines.
Responsibilities for Radiology Nursing
In addition to the salary, most nurses will consider becoming a radiology nurse based on the duties required. The primary responsibility of a radiology nurse is to assess, plan, and care for any patients that have to go through a radiation-based diagnostic or therapeutic procedure. Serving as the communication between the radiologist, nursing staff, and the patient or patient’s family, a radiology nurse is tasked with explaining what will take place and the purpose behind the procedures to the patient. During the imaging scans, the nurse will usually operate the machinery and may even be asked to read the images. The combination of these roles required for a radiology nurse means that they must be able to communicate with a variety of people and be an expert on the equipment being used. Similar to the duties of other registered nurses, a nurse in radiology is tasked with caring for the patient following the procedure and until they are ready to leave the hospital.
In search of a higher salary or different opportunities, registered nurses may consider taking radiology CME for nurse practitioners. Understanding the different aspects of being a radiology nurse will help you make that decision.