New Grad starting in Radiology??

  1. 0
    I am new to allnurses.com, I just passed the NCLEX last month, and am looking for a job. I hear that it is a good idea to start in med-surg but I am interested in radiology as I love medical imaging and advanced technology. I checked to see if there were any special certification licenses required at the hospitals (I live in NYC) but found none besides BCLS. My question is, is it a good idea for a new grad to start in radiology? Or will I miss a lot of basic skills?? I have never actually heard of a new grad going right into radiology. One year of critical care RN experience is required, but I figured I have a really solid foundation and it wouldn't hurt to try. Please give me your opinions, thanks!
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    Interventional Radiology is so dynamic and interesting, a great combination of hands-on direct patient care and technology, IMO.

    My strong advice, though, is to get at least one year of Critical Care experience.
    You will learn SO much more in that year, adding to what you say is already 'a really solid foundation.'
    The more you learn, the more you will realize you don't know, if that makes any sense.
    In Radiology you will work with a lot more autonomy.
    Working in a Critical Care area will help you develop that combination of organization, experience, techinical skills, assessment and just plain intuition -- gut feeling, if you will -- to function well in Radiology.
    The four Radiology or Cath Labs I've worked in would not hire anyone without at least that year (sometimes two or three were required) of Critical Care or ED or PACU experience.

    Good luck to you!
    clearblueskies126 likes this.
  4. 3
    Hi!
    Where I work at they will not hire you unless you have 1 year exp on ICU or a Stepdown unit. When I began working in Radiology I had three yrs exp on medsurg and transplant stepdown. To work in Rad you have to have very good on the fly assesment skills. You can't learn basic nursing skills in Radiology. You have to be good at running codes and knowing how to handle crazy emergency situations and that only comes with exp. I work in the IR dept now and to work there you have to be the DOCs other set of eyes and hands they put alot of trust into us they have to be able to rely on there nurses. You also need to be able to voice yourself to them when you think sum thing is wrong. The docs in IR can pick up very quickly if ya know what your doing or not. I love the IR dept tho I like having to run my own room and having one procedure at a time but we are busy all day long and the days go fast. I would not be as comfortable there as I am now If I didnt work the other places that I did. esp where I work we have a large transplant community so that knowledge comes in handy. Also woking on the floor and getting all the organizational skills really helps.
    sumoe, dianah, and clearblueskies126 like this.
  5. 1
    I, too believe you would benefit from the growth experience of working in an ICU or stepdown unit. In radiology you really do fall back on what you know. Both knowledge and experience. It is rewarding for those who like autonomy in their practice. There is a lot of independence in the job.
    dianah likes this.
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    Unless you are working in a very well staffed Radiology Department that supports new graduates and has good mentoring and orientation programs, you would be much better served with some critical care experience under your belt. One of the things that I find to be generally true in Radiology is: Radiologist dont do sick people, they know about scans, technology, procedures, but sick people....not so much. You absolutely must be able to be independent and sure of your skills. Most of the time, the nurses work in procedure rooms as the only nurse with the tech and docs.
    clearblueskies126 likes this.
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    I did start in radiology as a new RN grad but I also had several years experience at the same facility as a radiology technologist and already was an LPN. I did negotiate to have solid training in ER, outpatient medical, surgery, and oncology before starting as a new grad in radiology nursing. Keep in mind that the rad techs will not be able to help you if anything should go wrong because of the difference in scope of practice. Also, radiologists are doctors but it took them several years to complete their specialty training and they are relying on you as the RN to catch subtle changes that could be life threatening to patient during interventional procedures. Don't count on the rad to be able to help much in a code situation either. I would recommend a minimum of one year experience but with proper training, there's no reason why you couldn't be a radiology RN if a facility was willing to hire you.
    Gator Girl 2000 likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from BootsyRNPA
    Hi!
    Where I work at they will not hire you unless you have 1 year exp on ICU or a Stepdown unit. When I began working in Radiology I had three yrs exp on medsurg and transplant stepdown. To work in Rad you have to have very good on the fly assesment skills. You can't learn basic nursing skills in Radiology. You have to be good at running codes and knowing how to handle crazy emergency situations and that only comes with exp. I work in the IR dept now and to work there you have to be the DOCs other set of eyes and hands they put alot of trust into us they have to be able to rely on there nurses. You also need to be able to voice yourself to them when you think sum thing is wrong. The docs in IR can pick up very quickly if ya know what your doing or not. I love the IR dept tho I like having to run my own room and having one procedure at a time but we are busy all day long and the days go fast. I would not be as comfortable there as I am now If I didnt work the other places that I did. esp where I work we have a large transplant community so that knowledge comes in handy. Also woking on the floor and getting all the organizational skills really helps.
    Agree with all of the above. Then add 1 year of Med-Surg before going into ICU, please! Lots to learn first, like charting, assessing, passing meds and watching for results/reactions, interventions, teaching, organizational skills and speaking with patients, families and physician/staff.

    We hired a "nurse" last year that was so untrained I actually checked to see if she had graduated nursing school and had a license! I had never done that before in all my years! Turns out she was a new grad, less than 1 year, but must have said she was an ER nurse before this job. Well, she couldn't read monitors, and didn't even know what a BUN/CR were or what they meant! I finally had to put in writing what I was thinking and hand it to my manager. Turns out the little ***** dissed me on her exit interview, that I was MEAN to her. Heck, I thought I was controlling myself very well!
    Last edit by dianah on Jan 6, '10 : Reason: edited profanity, per TOS
    neatnurse30 likes this.


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