Radiology Nurses are Essential Members of the Imaging Team
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Radiology nurses provide for continuity of safe, quality care in the imaging department. Every patient deserves the same level of care regardless of day of the week or time.
In the radiology department radiology nurses help ensure that every patient gets the same quality of care. We care for patients across the lifespan in all modalities in imaging. Radiology nurses are there to accept, interview, assess and prep the patient prior to procedures. They monitor vital signs and administer analgesia and sedation during the procedure or assist anesthesia when their services are needed. Post procedure the nurse monitors the patient until they are at baseline to be discharged to home or transferred to an inpatient unit. Radiology nurses teach the patient and significant other what to expect and what to do for follow-up care. We form relationships with patients and help ease anxiety and fear that is often associated with diagnostic tests and procedures. Radiology nurses improve the quality of the patient experience in radiology. In addition to scheduled hours many are part of the "on-call" team for emergencies 24/7.
Radiology nurses may also be involved in radiology clinics, quality initiatives in the department, research in radiology and teaching throughout the department and hospital. We are an integral part of the radiology team ensuring safety and quality. So how did we become so adept at doing this? We have adapted skills learned from working in other specialties such as the intensive care unit or emergency department and have developed our own special set of skills needed for radiology nursing. Examples include how to respond to a contrast reaction, oxygen de-saturation from sedation and management of a groin puncture site.
Radiology nurses improve the quality of the patient experience in radiology.
The Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing (ARIN), an international nursing association, now in its 40th year, is dedicated to enhancing patient care through continuing nursing education, publications (the Journal of Radiology Nursing, a monthly newsletter, a core curriculum for radiologic and imaging nursing, a scope and standards book, an orientation manual, position statements and more), virtual webinars and annual convention with continuing education credits. ARIN supports certification in radiology nursing as administered by the Radiologic Nursing Certification Board (RNCB), an accredited body, and offers a review course prior to sitting for the examination. Informal networks allow for communication among members when "hot topics" surface. Regional chapters of ARIN hold regular meetings with presentations on a variety of subjects relevant to practice. Radiology nurses understand that radiology is dynamic and so must our practice must be that, too. New procedures are constantly being added and adaptability is a key to our success. While we pioneer new nursing care, evidence based care is our goal so some radiology nurses are dedicated to outcomes research to improve practice.
Continuing education has been another key to the advancement of radiology nursing. The new text, Advanced Practice and Leadership in Radiology Nursing (Springer, 2020) is a good example of meeting the new needs of the radiology nurse who has entered an advanced practice role as a clinician, manager or educator. Nurses become leaders in the department. Working collaboratively with the radiologists and technologists helps ensure the best safe patient care. The above mentioned text with an interdisciplinary group of authors shows how the radiology department is interdependent on the various team members toward the imaging goal.
Radiology nurses are proactive, inquisitive, caring and uniquely positioned to serve the many needs of the patient in the imaging department. If your department is not currently utilizing radiology nurses, the time to start is now.
Discover more about radiology nursing at The Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing and see the official publication here: Journal of Radiology Nursing.
Information about the recent book by Kathleen A. Gross for US residents here: Advanced Practice and Leadership in Radiology Nursing or Springer Europe: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783030326784
Kathleen A. Gross, MSN, BS, RN, MEDSURG-BC,CRN, FAARIN
Kathleen Gross is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Radiology Nursing, an Elsevier publication. She resides in the greater Baltimore metropolitan area. Kathleen has over 21 years of clinical experience working in Interventional Radiology and other imaging modalities. She has edited the Core Curriculum for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing Core Curriculum, 3rd ed. and has authored chapters on radiology nursing in Alexander’s Care of the Patient in Surgery, 14th ed. and in Perianesthesia Nursing Care: A Bedside Guide for Safe Recovery 1st and 2nd editions in addition to authoring numerous articles.
Kathleen is a Past President of the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing (ARIN) and has served in many capacities for ARIN. Currently, she is a member of the Standards Committee for the Society of Interventional Radiology and also a member of the American College of Radiology Patient and Family Centered Care Education Committee.
Kathleen is focused on advancing education for all radiology nurses regardless of modality or geographic location to improve patient care. She enjoys mentoring new authors. She also advocates for the best patient experience for those undergoing imaging. She enjoys studying medical humanities and its role in healthcare, for patients and providers.