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Radiology nursing primarily involves diagnosis through imaging. It is one of the most heavily used departments in nursing. Nonetheless, many nurses are unfamiliar with what a radiology nurse is or does. Schools don’t have courses dedicated to radiology and clinicals tend to focus on inpatient units. Furthermore, most new graduate nurses want to be in the ICU, PCU, ED, or another inpatient unit. Unfortunately, these sought-after positions can be hard to find for new graduates because of demand, and many hospitals won’t hire new grads to some of these units.

Radiology nursing provides an alternative career path that most new graduate nurses and more experienced nurse are not familiar with.

Radiology: The Unsung Hero of the Hospital

Often radiology goes unnoticed, but every department uses it in some way. Whether you are in the emergency room evaluating for a bleed in a recent trauma patient, having a drain placed due to a fluid collection, or staging a newly found mass, you will need the radiology department. CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs are all covered by radiology. They can perform something as simple as a chest x-ray or as advanced as 3-D anatomic modeling to assist physicians in surgical planning.

In some hospitals, over 75% of patients have a scan or procedure in radiology during their stay. Thus, at the bedside, chances are you have interacted with a radiology nurse, even if you didn’t know it.

So What is Radiology Nursing?

Radiology nurses ensure patient safety by making detailed assessments, providing moderate sedation to patients, assisting in the recovery of patients post-procedure, injecting contrast, and assessing patients during procedures, amongst other responsibilities. This makes the radiology nurse an integral part of the care team that helps ensure safe and efficient care to all patients.

Radiology nurses can expect to work with physicians, patient care assistants, technologists, and sonographers, as well as other RN staff from different units. They care for adult and pediatric patients and generally hold advanced certifications such as ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support).

Whether you are a new graduate looking for a strategic job opportunity or an experienced nurse looking to diversify your experience, radiology nursing could be a fantastic opportunity for you.

Tyler Faust, MSN, RN

Tyler Faust obtained his BSN from Winona State University and a Master's degree in Nursing and Organizational Leadership from Winona State University. He has worked at Mayo Clinic for the past 6 years and is in the process of transitioning from a staff nurse to a nurse manager. Tyler is passionate about professional development, nursing leadership, and strategic thinking.
Tyler Faust, MSN, RN

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