Radiology nurses touch many imaging-related areas of practice at Community Health Network, including interventional radiology at Community Hospital North, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, fluoroscopy and generals.
Both 8- and 10-hour shifts are available with weekday call. The weekend call is shared with Community Hospital East radiology nurses. Nurse to patient ratio is 1:1, as required by conscious sedation policy.
Characteristics and skills of an outstanding radiology nurse include physical fitness–the majority of time is spent walking or standing; critical thinking ability; mature judgment and leadership; confidence in job performance and skills; integrity and honesty; caring, compassionate and ethical mindset; positive role model nature; professional and personal accountability; flexibility; and ability to maintain positive working relationships.
Radiology nurses care for all age groups and deal with a multitude of diagnoses; there is a high population of renal patients.
Standard equipment used in radiology nursing includes Dash monitors (with PA pressures), Alaris pumps, computers, I-stat, Accu-Chek glucose monitors, PCA pumps, Pyxis, and Vocera hands-free communication system.
Radiology nurses use the following process to provide the highest quality nursing care to both inpatients and outpatients:
- Clinical Practice—Radiology nurses apply the nursing process and incorporate ARIN’s Standards of Care. They prioritize patient needs and function as a patient advocate. Radiology nurses demonstrate clinical competencies (both general and specific). They assess all aspects of the patient and family needs. Radiology nurses assess and monitor patient condition, including VS and EKG recognition, and initiate appropriate nursing interventions. They further recognize, document and assist in the treatment of contrast reactions. They administer sedation/analgesia and monitor patients as appropriate; they assess the need for and administer other medications as appropriate. Radiology nurses document patient status and outcomes and are accountable for patient care outcomes. Radiology nurses serve as clinical resources/mentors to the entire radiology department.
- Education/Communication—Radiology nurses provide health teaching and procedural information to patients and families and adapt the information to their learning needs. They provide staff education through in-services, handouts and lap paks. Radiology nurses assist with orientation of nurses and serve as mentors to physicians, technologists and students. Radiology nurses have a therapeutic presence and demonstrate awareness of patient rights. They practice ethical interpersonal skills and use appropriate communication skills.
- Leadership—Radiology nurses are resources for not only each other, but for the entire radiology department. They assist with quality performance improvement. Radiology nurses participate in the development and evaluation of policies and procedures in the imaging department. They practice cost containment. Radiology nurses participate in process improvement committees, practice council, etc. They provide guidance/direction for ancillary team members. Radiology nurses exhibit professional and personal accountability. They lead the radiology team through collaboration and coordination in the delivery of care. Radiology nurses are accountable for their own professional growth.
- Collaboration/Teamwork—Radiology nurses act as liaison among radiology, nursing units and ambulatory services. They work with other health care professionals to maintain continuity of quality patient care and easily adapt to fluctuating team priorities. They also use evidence-based practice to deliver care to patients.
- Research/Performance Improvement—Radiology nurses actively participate in institutional/divisional performance improvement projects/processes. They identify their role in the implementation of research protocols/policies and are actively involved with ongoing unit-based performance improvement projects.
Radiology nurses have graduated from an accredited school of nursing and hold a current licensure in the state of Indiana. At this time, one radiology nurse holds a certification in radiology nursing. There is a mixture of critical care, medical/surgical, pediatrics, obstetrics, orthopedics, neurology and endoscopy experience among the radiology nurses. All radiology nurses hold current certification in BLS, ACLS, and PALS. Radiology nurses are able to work effectively with a variety of professional and ancillary personnel. With the experience the radiology nurses have, they have a general knowledge of all areas of nursing so that they are able to meet the needs of the diverse community. Radiology nurses are qualified and prepared to handle all unexpected emergencies that occur during any imaging/interventional procedure.
There are opportunities to further one's education by obtaining a BSN or MSN and/or radiology certification. BLS, ACLS, and PALS are required to work in the radiology department at CHN. PPD training is optional. Radiology nurses attend continuing education seminars and complete CEUs from nursing journals to further their education in addition to the mandatory unit/RN education. Cross-training opportunities would most likely involve day beds and endoscopy.
According to staff and leadership, radiology nursing is special because it allows the nurses to take a holistic approach to their nursing care: "Radiology nursing is so much more than performing the procedure successfully. There are many more aspects to the patient than the procedure they have ordered. The one-to-one ratio allows quality time with the patient that enables the radiology nurse to delve into the patient’s history and reasoning behind the procedure." In this sense, radiology nurses attempt to extend exceptional experiences to patients every day.
Nurses stay in this area because radiology nursing is very rewarding; patient relationships are enhanced with the one-on-one nursing care. Nurses not only get to involve the patients, but also their family members. A strong bond is made relatively quickly and the radiology nurse is able to help allocate what is best for the patient through the various resources that are available.