So I'm curious... Can you help?

  1. Hi!

    I am currently getting my AS to become a Rad Tech, while taking additional pre-reqs to get my AS & BS in nursing at another school. (I'm crazy, I know.)

    Anywho, I had never heard of Radiology Nursing until recently and considering that I'll have both degrees, I became intrigued.

    I've read some of the other threads about the difficulties that the nurses face against RT and I'd like to avoid overstepping or pissing off anyone. Would you be willing to explain some of the duties rad nurses complete in comparison to the duties of the RTs? How do/would they overlap or why the conflict?

    Thanks in advance!
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    About Ciethekid

    Joined: Oct '17; Posts: 15; Likes: 23


  3. by   dianah
    Not ignoring you, just pondering how best to answer your questions.

    Will post soon.
  4. by   Ciethekid
    Cool beans.

    I thought about asking one of the directors from my RT program, but I thought their opinion might be a little bit biased. Plus, they aren't aware that I am also interested in pursuing my RN.
  5. by   dianah
    The two disciplines distinctly overlap, caring for the same patient but with a different focus.
    My background is 21 years as a Radiology Nurse in a County facility.
    I worked with some excellent techs, who knew just what to do to help if the ER pt crashed during a CT scan, or the Angio Techs who had all passed ACLS and knew how to help with middle-of-the-night trauma pts.
    We worked as a team.

    In general (depending on the facility):
    RTs scrub and set up.
    RNs scrub and set up.
    Both understand the principles of the sterile field.
    RTs position the patient and manage (for lack of a better term) the imaging.
    RNs monitor the patient and administer moderate sedation.
    We both watch the patient!
    We both know our supplies, our tools for exams.

    Depends on the facility as to how the charting/documentation/billing/coding is done.

    From what I have read, some RTs resist the RN presence.
    Some RNs create an atmosphere that the nurse is always right.
    This, I have observed, stems from protecting their license from practicing outside its scope.
    It takes a wise leader to appreciate the strengths and focus of each discipline, and coordinate both in the best interest of the patient and patient care.
    Communication is key, plus understanding the scope of practice of each.

    I don't know if I have answered your questions.
    Feel free to ask more.
  6. by   Huachuca

    I am currently working in a Cardiac Cath Lab that also does Interventional Radiology Special Procedures. We also have Radiology nurses in a different department. I have worked as an Emergency RN, Flight RN, and Rapid response nurse. I think that getting both degrees is a great have to have working experience to be respected in either. The Rad tech's I work with all have had at least two years of being a Rad Tech before they come to our unit. Then, it takes a special kind of person to learn and entirely new skill, scrubbing in with the doctor. The Rad Tech's scrub (prepare the patient, set up the equipment, run the table, and help the doctor manipulate the equipment . It is a steep learning curb. Both the nurse and the Rad Tech learn how to record the case. SOME facilities let the rad tech medicate the patient......This is where nurses get defensive. We go through years to learn how to medicate and monitor patients, and don't want to be replaced by someone who has just taken a course on a few drugs.( Just being honest here). The Nurse in Radiology/Cath Lab, Special procedures must research the patient's background, get consents, put in orders, sedate the patient, respond to changes in patient condition, and recove the patient. Here is where you MUST have experience. You have to know when to react quickly, and that is not when things have already gone bad. Nust this weekend I worked with a nurse that did not have critical care experience. The patient was scheduled for an emergency pacemaker. It made sense, he had altered mental status, heart rate in the 30's. What she did not take into account was that he had a critically high potassium level of 6.8. He needed to have this addressed YESTERDAY. Before we proceed we needed to tell the physician, who was going to put a permanant pacemaker in him. It turns out, after the man was treated his heart rate improved and he only need a temporary pacemaker until his potassium was completely corrected.

    So, I support you getting as much education as you can, just remember you need the experience to back it up with. Good Luck
  7. by   GaryRay
    Disclosure:I'm in my 4th week of orientation I'm hardly an expert.

    That being said, I had heard the same thing. I've also seen it in other specialties when nurses work along side other licensed or specialized professionals. I've been an RN for 11 years on 18 units, in 14 hospitals, through 11 cities, across 5 states (yes I got my resume out to figure that out former travel nurse) I feel like there is always potential for drama when nurse's scope overlaps with someone else Resp gets pissed if you change vent settings or run a blood gas even when you tried to call them and couldn't get ahold of them, lab gets annoyed when you call the to come get your blood in one hospital and gets annoyed if you collected it yourself before they get to the room in the next, pharmacy pulls meds in a code in the icu then gets an atittude when you start pulling syringes without them because you don't have time to wait 15 min for them to strole on up. Doctor gets pissy when you call at 2 am about a fever when you don't have an order for tylenol then the next night gets mad you didn't call because they want blood cultures this time.

    Since I suck at mind reading I just asked the RT in IR and CT what nurses do that they feel works best for everyone so I can have good habits from the start. Which is basically a polite way of saying "what pisses you off in procedures that I should avoid doing?"

    She said the techs prefer the nurse to help them get the patient on the table instead of immediately charting, watch the patient not the monitor, ask the radiologist before giving more sedation because we don't usually know where we are in the procedure from where we sit, they love it when we come ask if they need us to pull drugs before we bring the patient