What is a Radiology Nurse?

A radiology nurse provides medical care, support, and education to patients receiving radiation treatment or therapy.

These nurses may also care for individuals with MRI scans, ultrasound tests, or other tests that require radiation.

Those who work as radiology nurses may choose to specialize further in a particular area of radiology.

It includes ultrasound, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, interventional radiology, computed tomography, breast imaging, and dosimetry.

Some radiology nurses also specialize in research to develop new treatments and procedures.

What Do Radiology Nurses Do?

While working with patients, radiation nurses prepare and communicate the procedure with their patients.

They answer important questions and ensure that the patient is in a healthy mental and emotional state.

They also check diagnostic equipment to ensure that it functions correctly.

Radiology nurses assist radiology technicians/sonographers, physicians, and other specialists with radiology procedures.

In direct patient care, radiology nurses monitor vitals, administer medications, insert or check IVs and inspect catheters.

They also assist with treatments, update medical records, and monitor recovery, among other nurse responsibilities.

Radiology nurses provide care for a wide variety of patients in radiological departments from young children to old adults.

In addition, they assist patients requiring different degrees of medical care.

For instance, they’ll provide support, education, and treatments to those suffering from critical injuries and illnesses.

They’ll also help patients who just need a standard check-up or want preventative care advice.

Radiology Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Monitor patient health vitals
  • Update medical records
  • Educate patients on their conditions
  • Provide emotional support
  • Administer medications
  • Assist radiology staff and departments
  • Perform procedure checklist
  • Review assessment information
  • Monitor treatment and recovery
  • Help with treatments and therapies
  • Oversee bedside duties (i.e. start I.V. lines, infusion ports, etc.)

Where do Radiology Nurses Work?

Radiology nurses work in various healthcare settings that concentrate on radiology, patient care, and research.

It includes hospitals, radiology departments, outpatient care facilities, diagnostic imaging, and cancer treatment centers.

Radiology nurses also operate in different research departments and private practices.

For instance, some specialists work for OB/GYN practices or independently operated nurse practitioner offices.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Radiology departments
  • Outpatient care facilities
  • Diagnostic imaging centers
  • Cancer treatment centers
  • Research departments
  • Private practices

A radiology nurse’s responsibilities vary depending on their employer, specialization, and work duties.

How to Become a Radiology Nurse

Most aspiring healthcare professionals can become radiology nurses with enough hard work and effort.

However, it requires years of education, training, and specialization to operate in this domain.

This section explores the various steps necessary to become a radiology nurse.

Steps to Become a Radiology Nurse

  1. Join a nursing program,
  2. Finish nursing school
  3. Pass the NCLEX
  4. Gain work experience
  5. Obtain CRN certification

1. Enter a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a radiology nurse is to enter a nursing program.

To qualify for the program, students must complete the nursing school prerequisite courses.

These courses take roughly 1 – 3 years to complete depending on the student’s previous education.

It’s also necessary to maintain a good GPA as many nursing programs have high competition and limited seating.

Some students complete multiple applications at different nursing schools to improve their acceptance odds.

Lastly, students may apply for nursing school at some universities one semester before completing their prerequisites.

It enables them to get a head start on their application process.

2. Complete Nursing School

After completing the prerequisite courses students may apply for acceptance into nursing school.

Most nursing schools enable students to obtain either an ADN or BSN.

It takes approximately two to four years to complete the nursing program, depending on the degree.

The ADN degree is a two-year program that enables students to enter healthcare and obtain experience quickly.

It’s beneficial for those who want to quickly enter healthcare and earn a living while obtaining further education.

It also enables nurses to discover various specializations while working and determine the career path they want to pursue.

Nonetheless, those who want to become radiology nurse specialists must obtain a four-year BSN, degree.

The BSN degree provides students with a comprehensive education in nursing and prepares them for specialized roles.

Many healthcare facilities also prefer registered nurses with a BSN due to the advanced education and training.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

After completing the BSN program, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing develops and distributes the NCLEX.

This exam tests students’ overall nursing knowledge, comprehension, and preparedness for their nursing roles.

It’s also a necessary exam for students who want to obtain their nursing license.

After completing the BSN program and passing the NCLEX-RN, graduates may apply for registered nursing jobs.

4. Obtain Work Experience

Aspiring radiology nurses must obtain 2,000 hours of work experience and training as registered nurses.

Looking for work in radiology-related fields to gather adequate training and knowledge is essential.

Registered nurses must also gather 30 hours of continuing education in radiology.

It enables them to take the certified radiology nurse exam and obtain certification as certified radiology nurse specialists.

That said, some radiology positions enable registered nurses to operate in the field without acquiring CRN certification.

However, receiving credentials offers radiology nurse specialists numerous benefits, which I’ll discuss in the next section.

5. Get Certified

The final step to becoming a certified radiology nurse is to obtain CRN certification.

This certification is nationally recognized and provides considerable advantages for radiology nurses within their careers.

Getting certified confirms the radiology nurse has adequate expertise and commitment in their occupation.

As a result, healthcare intuitions, and organizations are more likely to offer certified radiology nurses employment.

Certified radiology nurses can also perform additional responsibilities, accept advanced jobs, and earn higher incomes.

Finally, getting certification enables radiology nurses to receive recognition and praise from colleagues and supervisors.

The CRN certification exam is administered by the Radiologic Nursing Certification Board and is accredited by the ABSNC.

It tests the nurse’s comprehension, knowledge, and competencies to confirm their preparedness for radiology nursing.

After obtaining CRN certification, certified radiology nurse specialists can apply for various radiology careers in their field.

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