Need opinions about making decision,rad tech or nursing...

  1. I am currently just getting started with pre-requisite courses (2 A's this semester--yeah!) and wanted to get your opinions about something. I know there are some radiology techs on here and/or students...I am thinking about possibly applying for a tech program next Fall. I am torn between nursing and rad tech. I am extremely intrigued by nursing, but also with radiology. I have been a radiology medical transcriber for 5+ years and I love what I've learned about the field (with just my limited exposure to all the reports). But I also really want think I would love being a nurse, but in what field yet---I don't know. How do I make my decision and what are some of the pros and cons that you all have to suggest?! I want to make the right choice. Thanks in advance!

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    About NurseAnn08

    Joined: May '03; Posts: 41; Likes: 2
    Specialty: NICU


  3. by   manna
    Have you visited the rad tech boards at

    I applied and was accepted to rad. tech school last fall - only I couldn't afford to quit my job and go. This fall, I'm starting nursing school. I'm still not really sure which decision was right, but I felt that something was leading me this way since I got offered lots of grant/scholarship money, and I could complete a BSN in the same amount of time it would take to complete an AS in RT.

    Radiologic science is a wide open field, the pay is good, and I'd recommend it to anybody. I know of at least one rad tech student who posts regularly on this forum.

    Maybe see if you could do some job shadowing of both professions? (you've probably already been around rad techs, but what about nurses?)

    Good luck making your decision!
  4. by   LauraLou
    To me, the main difference is the variety of position open to nurses. If you know that radiology is what you really want to do, then go for it. If you prefer to have the option of working in a hospital/school/clinic/nursing home/home health/insurance co, etc, then nursing might be a better choice.

    Good luck!
  5. by   NewEnglandRN
    Here is my personal experience:

    I graduated in 1990 with an A.S. in Radiologic Technology. The program was excellent and there was extensive clinical training (more so than the nursing program I will be entering this year!) The field is fascinating, but IMHO very repetitive. Especially now that most Radiology Departments are computerized, there is even less of an opportunity to use acquired skills. There is no opportunity to spend time with patients and very little patient education.

    However, there are now many exciting opportunities in Radiology that were not available to me in 1990. I personally felt very trapped in my position as a staff radiographer. There was very little room for personal growth or advancement.

    So, three children later, I am returning to school for nursing . I am so excited about the seemingly endless opportunities for education and training. I an so excited!!!

    You are obviously familiar with the Radiology Department. Why not ask the clincal instructor if you can shadow a tech for the day to see if you like it.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

    Best of luck with you decision,

    edited for typos:uhoh21:
    Last edit by NewEnglandRN on May 19, '04
  6. by   kahumai
    I, too, almost went for Rad Tech, but I also plan on becoming pregnant one day. The risks to an unborn child are huge, but more so if I'm only a few weeks along and don't know about the pregnancy yet and don't take measures to protect myself. I know nursing will expose me to things harmful to an unborn child as well, but it just seemed that RT had more dangers. On the plus side, nursing is one *huge* umbrella, and the possibilites for employment are endless.
  7. by   angelac1978
    actually the risks to the unborn is not huge. If you take the appropriate precautions all of the time like techs are trained to do, the risk is very minimal. If you are trying to get pregnant, then obviously you should be extra careful, but female rad techs have healthy babies all the time! You shouldn't let misinformation like this steer you one way or the other.

    Granted this is a nursing message board and most of the responses you get will probably be that you should go for nursing. When I started looking into healthcare I started out wanting to be a nurse as well. Then I got my CNA certification and worked with nurses and saw what nurses did on a day to day basis. That changed my mind real quick. The constant patient contact just was not for me. Yes, you do see patients in the radiology department but usually only for a limited time and then they leave and a new pt comes in. This to me keeps things interesting rather than caring for the same pt's for an extended period.

    Like MichelleinMA said, there are many new opportunities for rad techs today. Once you get certified as an RT, you can specialize in several fields like MRI, CT, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, PET scanning, cadiac cath lab, education, etc. Also, the ASRT (the professional organization of RT's) recently approved the creation of "radiology assistants", kind of a "super tech" position if you will. Rad assistants will be able to perform certain exams without the presence of a radiologist, however, assistants would not be able to interpret films. Also recently created is the position of radiology physician assistant (RPA). Granted the opportunites in radiology aren't as vast as nursing, but there is a lot of room for advancement.

    If you couldn't tell already, I am applying to a rad tech program. Nursing just isn't for me, but I feel right at home in the radiology department. I would also suggest that you shadow a tech, check out several departments if you are able and see all the different things you can do. You should also watch a barium enema because that is about the most disgusting procedure done in the dept and if you can stomach that, you should be able to handle everything else.

    And if you decide that nursing is what you want to do, but you are still kind of interested in radiology, you could always be a radiology nurse, working in the cath lab or the regular radiology department. Nursing and radiology are both great fields. You just need to find your niche! Good luck and you can PM me if you have anymore questions!