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What's a radiology nurse? This is a medical employee, who provides care to those patients, who attend the radiology department both in private practice and state hospitals. Nurses can even ensure not only physical, but also emotional health safety, making sure the patient fits to undergo the imaging procedures. Besides, nurses, not doctors, usually interpret and analyze the results of the tests. This fact makes a nurse an essential part of the care team. How to become a radiologist nurse is a vital question that interests lots of people. We would like to provide the most reliable information on the questions that interest you the most: education, special programs and salary, of course.

Top Reasons to Be a Radiology Nurse

Medical imaging is one of the spheres that develop rather quickly. Why? Because every day scientists and researches find new diseases and their treatment options. To fulfill the treatment and protection courses, a hospital requires highly professional nurses.

Speaking about radiology, it must be pointed out that this field of medicine uses invasive techniques to cure various diseases and radiology nurses help their patients to undergo various extensive surgical operations.

An average nurse has the task to care for a great number of patients of different ages, as well as emergency patients. The task of a nurse is to assist specialists, who use imaging for carrying out different procedures like diagnostic ones for bladder and bowel problems and treatment of diseases in blood vessels.

Nurses have many tasks. The primer one is to provide proper patient care during procedures or radiological investigations. However, they are also to have communication skills in order to ensure both safety and proper care of the patients.

To other tasks belong:

  • assisting patients, as well as those people, who care for them, with concerns questions about the procedures they are to undergo;
  • administering the required medicines and light sedation, when needed;
  • providing anaesthetic assistance, in case a patient needs to be drowsy or asleep during the procedure;
  • assessing patients' health (current and prior), including allergies and various health issues;
  • monitoring one's vital signs (for example, blood pressure, etc), analyzing the slightest changes, and reporting and acting according to the condition;
  • monitoring the patients' discharge after their procedures;
  • administering intravenous injections of contrast medium;
  • preparing patients for different procedures (antiseptic solutions or other methods of infection risks minimization).

All these skills are characteristics of a professional nurse with profound knowledge of radiation safety, privacy and proper infection control. These duties are the fullest overlook of the radiologist job description. If you are about to choose the career of a nurse, be sure you are ready to become an assistant and will perform all the tasks.

More Workplace Information

This profession requires advanced technology and proper radiologist education. What does a radiologist do? The places of employment are in radiology departments of hospitals. Speaking about radiology nurses, it is essential to point out that they can also work in women's clinics, centers focusing on cardiac health and imaging clinics. As a rule radiology assistant salary is not greatly influenced by the type of the clinic he/she is working at. Besides, this profession does not require any additional experience or education beyond the nursing degree.

A nurse works alongside experienced professionals, and can easily attend lecture courses to know more treatment techniques and professional terminology.

Is It Easy to Become a Professional Radiology Nurse?

Well, it is much easier than to become a pediatric radiologist or a diagnostic radiologist. If you want to be a radiology nurse, you should obtain a Bachelor's degree in nursing and pass a licensing examination.

Normally, after obtaining this degree a nurse joins a specialized hospital program. The program is a sort of combined studying of theory and practice for gaining all necessary skills.

College degree is essential for becoming a nurse. There are lots of radiology schools and community colleges with 4-year programs that assist in obtaining the required degree. Normally the degree program provides profound knowledge in Biology and Medicine, Human Health and Physics. There are also schools, which provide an opportunity to become interns in local clinics and hospitals to gain not only degree in theory, but also practical experience.

After 4-year program completion, one must take an exam in order to earn registered nurse credentials. All the exams are administered by national boards. Their primer task is to test the nurses' fundamental knowledge and understanding of various medical issues.

Perhaps, one of the greatest benefits of this profession is the fact a radiology nurse is always able to advance for a supervisory position and pursue a Master's degree, when working in hospitals. However, lots of things depend on the setting, where a practitioner can be allowed to make final treatment decisions.

Possible Courses for Future Radiology Nurses

  • Clinical chemistry course is a quite popular choice among thousands of undergraduates. During the course students discuss biological compounds and instrumentation that is used in the testing laboratories. Students also perform various studies of the most common diseases and routine evaluations (pregnancy monitoring, organ system evaluation, drug tests, etc).
  • Human anatomy course is for those, who really want to know the basics of the human body structure and functioning (digestive, cardiovascular, reproductive, respiratory and urinary systems). For those, who are very interested in knowing more, the course program offers learning the rules of body elements' balance (bases, electrolytes, acids and fluids). During the studying, the students observe and analyze data from demonstrations.
  • Clinical course stands for the work of students in clinical sites under professional supervision. The program covers equipment operation and laboratory procedures, identification of various bacteria and viruses, and isolation techniques. Some students may choose to focus on hematology laboratory procedures or learning how to exhibit professional conduct.
  • Medical terminology course helps to learn to interpret the basic elements of medical terminology (root words, prefixes and suffixes). The course covers correct pronunciation as well as guidelines in finding and defining common abbreviations that are used in pharmacology, oncology, etc.
  • Radiation therapy course is also in the list of the most popular ones. Its program is pretty predictable: the basics of radiation (prevention, quality insurance, main safety principles), its types (brachytherapy and teletherapy), etc. Though the information included into the program depends on the school, in most cases, students discuss the equipment that is used for improvement of radiograph quality and reduction of numbers of doses.

You can choose one course or combine several to be well-prepared for the issues you may face during your work. Those, who work part-time, may consider these courses as additional opportunities for career advancement.

Salary and Expectations

How much does a radiologist make? This question bothers too many people, who would really like to become the one. Radiologist salary varies in different regions and depends on different factors. If we speak about radiology nurse salary, it isn't as high as the one of a professional radiologist, but it would be wrong to state it is very low.

In 2010 the average salary for a radiology nurse was $56,000 per year. But the sum depended on the geographical position, employer, offered benefits and experience. If you want to earn more, take additional courses and training programs to ensure you deserve more.

Later, in 2011 a full-time salary was $90,000 (according to the National Salary Report). Those who were working in oncology clinics or were involved in intervention and radiologic therapeutics and imaging earned $91,000 - $92,000.

Nurses of emergency departments got nearly $103,000 per year, and those, who were in surgical settings - $91,000.

Experience plays the key role in how high the salary is. Years of experience influence the income to a great extent: the average yearly income of a beginner (0-1 year employed) is only $43,000. If you work for more than 1 year (1-2 years), you get more (about $45,000). The difference is only $2,000, but in a few years the sum will grow and that will be the appreciable difference.

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nursing is going to be in the list of fast growing professions for more than 10 years. The advancement of modern technologies enables the government to create new hospital locations. So, the demand for radiologist nurses is rapidly growing.

If an RN gains just a few years of experience working with radiology only, she may take a special certification exam in order to be a CRN (a Certified Radiology Nurse). If you have this certificate, it enables you to expand the scope of tasks and gives a relative freedom to take various challenges. This is a chance to earn more.

Becoming a radiologist nurse you get lots of opportunities for further career development. Besides, there are multiple resources for continuing education and further advancement in this field.