Radiology nursing, also referred to as cardiac catheterization lab nursing, involves providing patient support and care while undergoing diagnosis in environments that involve radiation imaging, like ultrasonography, radiation oncology, or magnetic resonance. A rapidly-expanding and exciting area, radiology nursing appeals to a wide variety of nurses because of the many different areas.
Radiology nurses must be competent in specialized areas, while still providing physical and emotional care to patients. Radiology nurses work in many areas and deal with patients of all ages, from young children to the elderly. It requires diagnosing any problems, interpreting the issue, and then following up to see how treatment has produced the desired results. A fairly new field of nursing, working with oncology or cancer patients is common in radiology nursing.
Radiology nursing includes angiography units, where nurses care for critical patients and have to understand new and changing equipment and medications. The main responsibilities in angiography are to prepare and monitor patients and document findings for each procedure, as well as assist the radiologist during procedures. Performing conscious sedation on patients in the event of an ultrasound or CAT scan-assisted procedure can be a challenge to nurses, as this is becoming a popular alternative to surgery. MRI and CT (Cat) scans require a radiology nurse to be skilled and knowledgeable in easing the worries of concerned parents as well as performing conscious sedation. CT/MRI nursing, which serves both inpatients and outpatients both adult and pediatric, is a very busy section of radiology nursing. Here, the nurse screens for potential contraindications to contrast, inserts IVs, and monitors patients during injection of contrast.
Radiology nursing also involves ultrasounds, sedation, PET scans, nuclear medicine, and fluoroscopy. In these roles radiology nurses are mainly supportive, inserting difficult IVs, assessing and monitoring patients, caring for sedated pediatric patients, and performing IV insertions, bladder catheterizations, and contrast administrations.
To become involved in radiology nursing, you will need an advanced nursing degree. The University of Phoenix offers the following online nursing degree programs:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Master of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Or see online LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, or general nursing programs