Radiology Nursing is a rapidly growing nursing field. Its growth is fueled by the constant advances in imaging and diagnostic technologies. Specialized radiology technicians are still present, but there are more radiology nurses now that there have ever been. These are nurses that assist patients as they undergo diagnostic imaging.
Roles of the Radiology Nurse
The scope of a Radiology Nurseís responsibility depends on the hospital policies. Some institutions give nurses an assistant role. They may be the ones to help patients on to the imaging machines. They could also be the ones to introduce imaging chemicals into the patientís veins. In other institutions, radiology nurses are also the ones to operate the imaging devices. Some nurses may even be trained to perform catheter imaging Ė although, that tasks is usually reserved for trained surgeons.
Radiology nurses often perform sonograms, mammograms (breast tissue imaging), MRI, CT/CAT Scans and X-Rays. These nurses may also be called administer radiation therapy and work alongside doctors administering nuclear medicine. Some radiology nurses may also assist in providing Hyperbaric Therapy to patients.
The main issue that radiology nurses have to face is the fact that their line of work exposes them to some degree of radiation every day. X-rays, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine and other forms of diagnostic exams all expose the technician and the patient to radiation. In order to keep safe, nurses must always wear their protective gear or stay behind protective walls. If radiology nurses arenít careful they may acquire radiology induced problems in the future.
Becoming a Radiology Nurse
Registered nurses who want to work as radiology nurses need to gain special skills training. In the United States, a nursing organization called the Association of Radiology Nurses in America or ARNA can help members gain training and certification. Training is important because as radiology technicians, nurses will be dealing with high-tech equipment. They may also be called to help physicians in interpreting results and they need to be knowledgeable on how to troubleshoot common problems. Some hospitals and colleges also provide Radiology Nurse training programs. These programs expose nurses to the basics of radiology including radiology safety.
The world of diagnostic imaging is continually evolving. This means that nurses need to keep abreast with the latest technologies. Keeping up with changes means that radiology nurses may have to constantly attend product and seminars.
There are a lot of work opportunities for radiology nurses in the US and other countries abroad. Hospitals and specialized diagnostic centers are now looking into hiring more radiology nurses. Some positions require specialized training while others allow their nurses to train on the job.