Radiology nursing, also known as cardiac catheterization lab nursing, involves supporting patients as they undergo radiation imaging. Radiology nurses must know how to use ultrasonography, radiation oncology, or magnetic resonance while providing physical and emotional care to patients. Radiology nursing also involves ultrasounds, sedation, PET scans, nuclear medicine, fluoroscopy, MRI and CT (Cat) scans. The advances in radiology are resulting in the need for increased training for radiology RNs. This is not an easy job, yet it can offer rewarding challenges, as advances in medical technology and higher levels of care for an increasingly sicker patient population are changing the face of imaging departments.

Duties of a Radiology Nurse

Radiology nurses often work in hospitals, as the equipment they work with cannot financially or physically fit into a clinical situation. These nurses work with inpatients and outpatients at all age levels and in all social strata. The radiology nurse will perform any number of procedures on patients to help determine a diagnosis, to help understand the progression of a disease or injury and to further assist in evaluating recovery.

Monitoring patients receiving x-rays, ultrasounds, or CT (computerized tomography) scans was once as far as it went for nurses working in radiology, but times have changed. Interventional radiology nurses can care for patients who receive an array of radiological procedures. Variety is the keyword, as these nurses administer everything from conscious sedation to the active role of monitoring patients before, during, and after procedures. Along with physicians and technologists, radiology nurses are trained to take care of patients in each modality. With advances in technology and changes in healthcare, many procedures that used to be done exclusively in the perioperative setting are now performed in radiology. In fact, the radiology RN is a key player in peripheral angiography and works in concert with the technologist and the radiologist or cardiologist to ensure positive outcomes.

Related Types of Nurses

Much rides on radiology nurses’ competencies. They must always think ahead to maintain patient safety, identify potential problems, and anticipate patients’ needs. On some days, they may have only one or two procedures scheduled; however, the sheer unpredictability of their work may result in assessing many more patients, starting IVs, running a Code Blue, or just helping out wherever they’re needed. Therefore, similar nursing professions might include triage nursing, military nursing, medical-surgical or hospital nursing and OB or neonatal nursing.

Radiology Nursing Degrees

Most jobs for radiology nursing require an RN license with some experience in a current specialty. Other employers might require a BSN and RN state license along with a current American Heart Association Healthcare Provider or American Red Cross Professional Rescuer CPR card. With that said, some jobs are available to those who acquire a minimum associate’s degree or a diploma, as long as that individual has one or more years’ experience and a professional CPR card.

Online Programs in Radiology Nursing

  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN
  • Walden University: BSN