Radiation technologist or BSN nursing? - page 2

Hi I'm Canadian I was recently accepted to Medical radiation technology it's a competitive 3 year program that covers X-Ray, (CT), angiography, mammography, and mobile radiography. I was also... Read More

  1. by   martymoose
    Quote from CelticGoddess
    I would spend 5 to 10 minutes with the patient and they were off.
    Oh my gosh- that would be HEAVEN.

    Now you got me thinking maybe I should pursue rad tech.

    I had originally started out in that for school , but a friend (?) told me "let's go into nursing".
    I am very very sorry I listened to her.

    I would , of course, recommend rad tech., not nursing
  2. by   dishes
    @jrwest, do you know any nurses who work in interventional radiology or medical imaging departments? Look at their job descriptions, it would be more cost effective to work as a nurse in one of these speciality areas than return to school to become a rad tech.
  3. by   adventure_rn
    Having worked in both nursing and radiology (as a tech assistant), these are my thoughts:

    Being a rad/ultrasound/CT/MRI tech has great hours and is low-stress in an outpatient setting, but not in the hospital; the same is generally true for outpatient/clinic nursing vs. hospital nursing.

    Furthermore, nurses may have more opportunity for advancement. I knew a handful of x-ray and MRI techs who had masters degrees, and desperately wanted to take on management roles at the hospital. However, many management positions were specifically reserved for nurses (so a nurse with an associates degree might be qualified, while an MRI tech with a masters was not). Not sure if the same would be true in Canada, but that was my experience here in the States. Nurses also have more diversity in their career opportunities; you can adjust your specialty and schedule to fit your family's needs.

    However, to be fair, you are posting on a nursing website, so I'm guessing most nurses will say 'go into nursing.'
  4. by   bluestar776
    Quote from adventure_rn
    Having worked in both nursing and radiology (as a tech assistant), these are my thoughts:

    Being a rad/ultrasound/CT/MRI tech has great hours and is low-stress in an outpatient setting, but not in the hospital; the same is generally true for outpatient/clinic nursing vs. hospital nursing.

    Furthermore, nurses may have more opportunity for advancement. I knew a handful of x-ray and MRI techs who had masters degrees, and desperately wanted to take on management roles at the hospital. However, many management positions were specifically reserved for nurses (so a nurse with an associates degree might be qualified, while an MRI tech with a masters was not). Not sure if the same would be true in Canada, but that was my experience here in the States. Nurses also have more diversity in their career opportunities; you can adjust your specialty and schedule to fit your family's needs.

    However, to be fair, you are posting on a nursing website, so I'm guessing most nurses will say 'go into nursing.'
    Thank you so much for the input! yes that's true it is a nursing site lol. I tried to find a Rad Tech site as well but I couldn't. It seems alot easier to find nurses to talk with then Rad techs lol but all and all I got some good input on here so far
  5. by   martymoose
    Quote from dishes
    @jrwest, do you know any nurses who work in interventional radiology or medical imaging departments? Look at their job descriptions, it would be more cost effective to work as a nurse in one of these speciality areas than return to school to become a rad tech.
    I actually do(did) know some. You have to have flawless IV skills, PALS,and have to take call.I live almost an hour away. ( cant sell house)

    But thanks anyway
  6. by   MedChica
    Xray is a cakewalk. You get the pt, position, shoot, recv the image and see the pt out. Next! If they have questions, they already know to speak to their provider. Nursing entails a lot of handpatting and handholding anf coddling that just isnt present in ant area of radiology.
    Your biggest issue will be repeats (something you only worry about if youre a newb), ugly film (if youre still working with developer. Once I had a day of purple film and had to call the qc to come handle it. Id drained the processor twice) and how to do a 'bodygram' on immovable parts.

    Fluoro? This is xray, too. I didn't much care for. This is done assisting the physician. UGI/Barium Swallow are the easiest. SBFT and Barium Enemas are the most time consuming. IVPs and HSGs are the worst. I was always the one tasked to do IVPs and the pts were always school-aged. It was horrible. Cathing was 40% of the battle. 49% of the battle was getting the child to urinate under observation.

    Dexascan? This is routine xray, too.. Put pt on table, strap them down and run the machine.

    CT? Put them on the table, explain exam, go sit down and scan. You do a LOT of sticks (bc of contrast studies) and you're utilized heavily during emergencies. It's the more stressful discipline of radiology. (U/S, too)

    MRI? The machine does the work.

    U/S? I dont know much. I would chaperone on occasion. Seemed to be a lot of scanning and fighting sleep in a warm little room. Our techs would stand and scan.

    Mammo? They squish boobs all day. The end.

    The growth is in nursing but radiology provides a nice lowstress type job with a decent living. Ive often said that xray is the best kept secret in the hospital.
    Xray just doesnt offer much of a mental challenge. In nursing, the stimulation is constant. Putting out fires and keeping the plates spinning. Xray? Shooting portables on a code is as good as it gets.

    You can earn very well. A CT tech that I trained (in routine xray/fluoro) made $26 to start. This was a few years back. Xray techs earn $21+(in hospitals), at least.

    The stress is wayyyyy less, compared to nursing. Youre responsible for producing a quality image. Anything else? Consult with your provider.
    You're inpatient? Oh, well I'll contact ---- clinic and try to get ahold get of your nurse...(the nurse - hell, any nurse). Dont worry. The nurse will handle it, whatever it is.

    I have no idea what the civilian world is like in terms of hiring new grads, but you dont really need 101 techs for a facility. It may be hard to get on, in fact. It's not like nursing. The need isnt there.

    (I used to shoot xray and do ct. Military trained).
  7. by   bluestar776
    Quote from MedChica
    Xray is a cakewalk. You get the pt, position, shoot, recv the image and see the pt out. Next! If they have questions, they already know to speak to their provider. Nursing entails a lot of handpatting and handholding anf coddling that just isnt present in ant area of radiology.
    Your biggest issue will be repeats (something you only worry about if youre a newb), ugly film (if youre still working with developer. Once I had a day of purple film and had to call the qc to come handle it. Id drained the processor twice) and how to do a 'bodygram' on immovable parts.

    Fluoro? This is xray, too. I didn't much care for. This is done assisting the physician. UGI/Barium Swallow are the easiest. SBFT and Barium Enemas are the most time consuming. IVPs and HSGs are the worst. I was always the one tasked to do IVPs and the pts were always school-aged. It was horrible. Cathing was 40% of the battle. 49% of the battle was getting the child to urinate under observation.

    Dexascan? This is routine xray, too.. Put pt on table, strap them down and run the machine.

    CT? Put them on the table, explain exam, go sit down and scan. You do a LOT of sticks (bc of contrast studies) and you're utilized heavily during emergencies. It's the more stressful discipline of radiology. (U/S, too)

    MRI? The machine does the work.

    U/S? I dont know much. I would chaperone on occasion. Seemed to be a lot of scanning and fighting sleep in a warm little room. Our techs would stand and scan.

    Mammo? They squish boobs all day. The end.

    The growth is in nursing but radiology provides a nice lowstress type job with a decent living. Ive often said that xray is the best kept secret in the hospital.
    Xray just doesnt offer much of a mental challenge. In nursing, the stimulation is constant. Putting out fires and keeping the plates spinning. Xray? Shooting portables on a code is as good as it gets.

    You can earn very well. A CT tech that I trained (in routine xray/fluoro) made $26 to start. This was a few years back. Xray techs earn $21+(in hospitals), at least.

    The stress is wayyyyy less, compared to nursing. Youre responsible for producing a quality image. Anything else? Consult with your provider.
    You're inpatient? Oh, well I'll contact ---- clinic and try to get ahold get of your nurse...(the nurse - hell, any nurse). Dont worry. The nurse will handle it, whatever it is.

    I have no idea what the civilian world is like in terms of hiring new grads, but you dont really need 101 techs for a facility. It may be hard to get on, in fact. It's not like nursing. The need isnt there.

    (I used to shoot xray and do ct. Military trained).
    Thank you for the in depth info on what it's like being a rad tech!


    I wanted to ask are you exposed to radiation on your job? small amounts even?
  8. by   adventure_rn
    The flip side of x-ray specialties being 'easier' is that they may get boring after a while (i.e. 30+ years), and as mentioned these specialties don't lend themselves to as much mobility (advancement up the career ladder or changes in specialty) the way that nursing does; there are jobs for nurses in advanced practice, management, education, research, pharma, biotech, informatics/IT...the list goes on and on. The monotony and lack of advancement opportunities was the main cause of burnout and frustration that I saw with my rad tech colleagues after about 5 years on the job.

    I'd argue that being a school or clinic nurse is equally as low stress as clinic nursing, with equally good hours. Also, at my practice, it was pretty common for the techs to get chewed out by patients over long waits, to get chewed out by radiologists for not getting the image quality they wanted, and to get chewed out by referring doctors for not getting the results they wanted. Workplace culture can be awesome or terrible no matter where you work.

    Also, some radiation exposure as a tech is inevitable. There are strict measures in place to limit the amount of exposure (i.e. wearing lead aprons and thyroid gland covers when in high-radiation circumstances, wearing a radiation tracking badge), but part of your job is to be in the room when the patient is exposed (i.e. floroscopy, interventional procedures, holding child or senile patients in place for x-rays). You can avoid radiation exposure by specializing in ultrasound or MRI.
    Last edit by adventure_rn on Mar 29, '16
  9. by   bluestar776
    Quote from adventure_rn
    The flip side of x-ray specialties being 'easier' is that they may get boring after a while (i.e. 30+ years), and as mentioned these specialties don't lend themselves to as much mobility (advancement up the career ladder or changes in specialty) the way that nursing does; there are jobs for nurses in advanced practice, management, education, research, pharma, biotech, informatics/IT...the list goes on and on. The monotony and lack of advancement opportunities was the main cause of burnout and frustration that I saw with my rad tech colleagues after about 5 years on the job.

    I'd argue that being a school or clinic nurse is equally as low stress as clinic nursing, with equally good hours. Also, at my practice, it was pretty common for the techs to get chewed out by patients over long waits, to get chewed out by radiologists for not getting the image quality they wanted, and to get chewed out by referring doctors for not getting the results they wanted. Workplace culture can be awesome or terrible no matter where you work.

    Also, some radiation exposure as a tech is inevitable. There are strict measures in place to limit the amount of exposure (i.e. wearing lead aprons and thyroid gland covers when in high-radiation circumstances, wearing a radiation tracking badge), but part of your job is to be in the room when the patient is exposed (i.e. floroscopy, interventional procedures, holding child or senile patients in place for x-rays). You can avoid radiation exposure by specializing in ultrasound or MRI.
    Thank you. They offer a program for healthcare professionals to train them in Ultrasound at a college in another city and as on the job training for nurses at a hospital not too far so if I have my nursing degree I can apply for both if I decide nursing isn't for me. I was also looking into home care and the many different things I could do as a nurse so I may stick to nursing.

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