RT intern need advice on moving patients for portable x-rays

Nurses General Nursing


OK so I'm not a nurse but hopefully someone can help me.

I am a radiology tech student and I jjust started my hospital rotation, so I am now doing portable x-rays. Everything I am learning I am being taught by my fellow students, and thank God for that. But what can you nurses tell me to watch out for, be extra careful of, etc. Generally we come up and the nurses won't help us get the film under the patient for a chest or abdomen x-ray. When I start going solo, I do plan on asking nurses for help. Should I not?

The student I am with right now has told me to watch blood pressure on patients, not to sit them up if it's low... what is your opinion?

He told me to be sure to turn off the feeding tube if we have to lay them down to move them up, on the bed, I would not have known this...

I am most intimidated by doing ICU by myself, so many IVs and tubes, I am terrified of moving someone too much.

So can anyone give me some more tips on things I shouldn't do? I know you guys hate us because we come up and move the patients around and don't always leave them exactly how we found them. I am trying my best to learn and not anger the nurses, or mess anything up! :)


264 Posts

Specializes in Pulmonary, MICU.

In the ICU for sure, ask the nurses to help. They are our patients and we usually have everything arranged just so...and honestly, you Rad Techs make a huge mess of things. ;) I'd rather you ask me to help place the plate than to have to go in behind you and clean up the mess! Hah.

An easy way is to set the bed to max inflate and slide the film plate between the fitted sheet and the mattress. This allows for it to slide relatively easy with minimal disturbance to the order of things. This is not something you have to do for patients who can sit/lean forward on their own, obviously. Just remember to take the bed off of max inflate when you are done.

Hoozdo, ADN

1,555 Posts

Specializes in ICU, Research, Corrections.

In an ICU environment, definitely ask the nurse to help you. The pts are generally all dead weight and you will need help. Do not turn feeding pumps off, ask the nurse to do that. CXR are generally easy to do, KUBs are not.

I think the reason ICU nurses don't like to see you is because you probably do X-rays at 5 AM. At that time we probably have the pts looking nice in bed, repositioned, sheets straightened in anticipation of shift change. On night shift, the earlier you can do X-rays is always the best time. :specs:


2 Posts

Thanks :) Ah yes, I was told about the max inflate for the mattress, will have to remember that!

We had one yesterday (not even in ICU), we did a chest XR in the morning, and they ordered a KUB later on the same pt, he was restrained and later the nurse told us after we left he even extubated himself (we hadn't removed the restraints for the chest XR, so not sure how he managed)... anywho, he wasn't a small guy and was very agitated and the mattress didn't have the option to inflate more... God bless his nurse, she helped the 2 of us get the plate under him. I am so scared of getting one of those alone!

And I am trying my best to leave things as I found them :)

The nurses in our ICU usually catch us as we leave to help turn patients, and of course we help them. Hopefully it'll still be a trade when I start doing them alone :)

I have also never really been in a hospital, never had grandparents so it's not like I went to visit them in the hospital ever, ya know? So I'm even more intimitadated. I'm getting through it, though!

Hoozdo- yeah, we come to do portables around 6 or 6:30am in ICU, I'm sure we are not a welcome sight LOL. The students before me have done ICU alone without help... but they are also male. I am a girl and I am not small (6'1" and big frame) but still lack the guys' strength. I will def. not feel silly asking for help.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

I admire your conscientiousness and desire to do a good job. Even when it is not ICU, I don't think it's out of the question to ask the patient's nurse for help, or at the very least ask for any restrictions that the nurse needs you to observe. (And yes, I realize it's hard to track us down sometimes.)

I think you're on the right track to giving great patient care!

Specializes in Cardiac.

Another person here who wants you to ask for my help in the ICU. Along with the lines, tubes, etc the pt might have a sheath or it might be contraindicated to sit up/roll to one side.

No ICU RN should object to being asked for help.

But, is it me, or do you guys show up just after I've rolled them? And then everythings a mess!


393 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Me too - Please come ask for help. I'd much rather help you than risk losing a tube or line. Besides, that way after you are done you can help me pull the pt back up in the bed. :D Seriously, though, I almost never reposition pts without the help of a fellow nurse or a tech. For big transfers, we "gang up" four to six at a time (or eight for the 400+ pts). We don't expect it of you, and you shouldn't expect it of yourself.

It is scary - it will get better. As you work with these pts more, you will come to know how to position equipment like the ventilator and how to keep track of lines and tubes so as not to pull on them.

Best of luck to you as you complete your training.


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