What is a Radiology Nurse?

Elva K.

Radiology nurses provide care for patients in the radiology department of a hospital or other medical setting. While following instructions given by the radiologist, the radiology nurse gives medications, assists in examination, helps develop a patient care plan, collects data, does record keeping, checks intravenous fluids (IVs), helps in sedating patients, and monitors patients' vital signs. At times, radiology nurses might also be involved in educating the families of patients or they may educate their health care colleagues about nursing policy or national nursing standards of care.

An MRI scan of the brain. A radiology nurse helps care for patients who are undergoing MRIs and other imaging tests.
An MRI scan of the brain. A radiology nurse helps care for patients who are undergoing MRIs and other imaging tests.

The radiology nurse often works with medical equipment used to make diagnoses. For instance, the radiology nurse is typically trained to help provide nursing care within the following specialties: ultrasound, nuclear medicine, angiography, sonography, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MRI), and fluoroscopy. As part of the diagnostic process, radiology nurses have to be able to analyze and make quick but accurate decisions.

A radiology nurse may employ the use of ultrasound equipment.
A radiology nurse may employ the use of ultrasound equipment.

Radiology nurses can begin with an associate's degree in nursing; however, many who want to be radiology nurses pursue bachelor's degrees in nursing as a starting point. Also, the nurse must pass the National Council Licensure Examination Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). After working for several years, the nurse also typically gets certification in radiology nursing. For instance, it is possible to become a Certified Radiological Nurse (CRN) via the Association for Radiological and Imaging Nursing (ARIN) after passing an exam.

A radiology nurse typically receives training on MRI equipment.
A radiology nurse typically receives training on MRI equipment.

It is not uncommon for radiology nurses to have an advanced degree. For instance, advanced practice radiology nurses often have the Master of Science in nursing (MSN) degree to become more knowledgeable about radiology nursing to better serve their patients. In addition, some radiology nurses even pursue a doctoral degree in nursing so they can not only work with patients but can work as teachers in a college setting.

A radiology nurse will check a patient's IVs.
A radiology nurse will check a patient's IVs.

Of note, the radiology nurse does more than medical caregiving. The radiology nurse provides an emotional support role for the patient and the family while the patient is going through treatment. This can be challenging; often the family has many questions during the patient's treatment. Radiology nurses often ease patients' treatment fears and help the family understand the treatments the patient is receiving. Thus, being a radiology nurse is a challenging job because it requires medical knowledge but also requires excellent social skills.

A radiology nurse helps other medical professionals who use diagnostic imaging technologies including CT scanners.
A radiology nurse helps other medical professionals who use diagnostic imaging technologies including CT scanners.

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