Coding a Radiation Patient


I was thinking about something, because I am working on an oncology floor.

Currently I am 8 1/2 months pregnant. We always have a radiation patient at the end of the hallway, that I stay away from. Many other young nurses don't go near that room neither.

What if for instance that patient happens to code? Am I legally obligated to go into the room to help with the code and risk the life of my unborn child? Or the other nurses are worried of being exposed before they had any chance to have children. I could not find anything on the BON website. But couple of nurses here had that discussion and nobody seemed to know the answer. We just never coded a radiation patient before. I figured, who better to ask then my friends on allnurses.

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

You stay away. There are plenty of staff available to handle such a situation. If it were to occur, you cover the other patients, answer the phones and call lights, etc.

Your staff is in desperate need of a radiation inservice. Contact your facility's radiation safety officer (by law, there IS one).

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

Just out of curiosity, what type of radiation are these patients receiving? We don't see much of that anymore, at least not inpatient.

Specializes in Education, Administration, Magnet. Has 18 years experience.

Thank you so much for your reply. Most of our patients recieve thyroid ablation.

Specializes in ED, ICU, Heme/Onc.
Thank you so much for your reply. Most of our patients recieve thyroid ablation.

You call a hospital code. And that patient should not be on your assignment. Do not accept report at the start of shift, and if the patient codes, be the nurse that stays out on the floor, answering phones, making sure that items are passed inside to the team, answering call lights, etc. There are plenty of things you can do during a code for a patient like this without endangering your unborn child.


flightnurse2b, LPN

2 Articles; 1,496 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ER, GI, PCU/Telemetry.

we had a radiation patient code in my hospital once. when we arrived to the floor, there was a nurse standing at the door with radiation monitor badges for us and then afterwards we all had to have this iodine uptake screening. there were a bunch of people who chose not to go in, and just answered call lights, phoned MD's and family, and got supplies. if you dont feel comfortable going in the room, and especially since your pregnant... then i definately wouldnt! there will always be enough hospital personnel to assist with a code without you endangering your baby.


2,438 Posts

If you've not established a nurse-patient relationship with that individual you are not and cannot be held legally responsible for that patient.

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

Thank you so much for your reply. Most of our patients recieve thyroid ablation.

Those patients are usually pretty hot (radiation wise lol).

I'm serious about contacting the RSO. You're supposed to have yearly inservices on this anyway, but they will be more than happy to do an additional inservice and answer all your questions.

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