Radiology nurses, also sometimes referred to as medical imaging nurses are professionals in the nursing field who specialize in caring for patients undergoing radiation therapy or diagnostic imaging procedures like x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRIs), computed tomography scans (CT scans), and ultrasounds. Radiology nurses make patients as comfortable as possible while ensuring that the best and most accurate images are being taken.
Radiology nurses are tasked with a variety of daily duties. Typical responsibilities may include:
The most common work environments and employers for radiology nurses include:
Those interested in the field of radiology must go through the necessary education and credentialing processes. Sometimes, radiology technicians wish to transition to registered nursing in order to become radiology nurses. In any event, a nursing degree, an RN license, the proper credentials, and some experience in the radiology field are generally what it takes to become a radiology nurse.
Registered nurses with either ADNs or BSNs are permitted to work in the radiology field. Those with BSN degrees will find it easier to gain employment in the specialty. Many in the radiology field will have advanced practice nursing degrees pertinent to radiology. Nurses with these advanced practice degree types will find themselves a bit higher up on the food chain than those with ADNs or BSNs. To obtain an advanced practice degree in radiology, you will need to achieve an MSN or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
At the very least, radiology nurses will need to earn a nursing degree (BSNs preferred) and be licensed as registered nurses (RN). However, advanced practice radiology nurses are the ones who hold crucial positions in the field. Interventional and imaging radiologists will often call upon clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners to act as mid-level providers in radiology labs and departments. In these cases, a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) might be required.
After a student has earned a nursing degree and become a fully licensed RN, the next step is to gain 2,000 hours of experience in radiology nursing and 30 hours of continuing education in the field. These contact hours must be approved by an educational institution or organization that is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center Commission on Accreditation (ANCC), the credentialing body of the American Nurses Association. They can then sit for the Certified Radiology Nurse (CRN) exam, administered by the Radiologic Nursing Certification Board, through the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing. The certification exam is composed of 200 multiple-choice questions and covers topics like Diagnostic Imaging, Fluoroscopy, CT, MRI, and PET, just to name a few.
As technology advances and the baby boomer generation continues to grow older, the need for radiology nurses will continue to grow. Those with CRN certifications will find it easier to gain employment. Additionally, CRNs will be paid more than traditional RNs.
According to ZipRecruiter, the median pay for a radiology nurse is $85,913 per year. Salaries will inevitably depend on the organization a radiology nurse is working for and how much experience they have. Employee benefits packages will also depend on the specific organization. Most full-time radiology nurses, however, will enjoy benefits packages which include comprehensive dental, medical, vision, and prescription insurance coverage. Lastly, radiology nurses can expect to receive some paid time off each year - usually at least two weeks.