What’s it like in imaging?

Posted
by McKMM McKMM (New) New Student

Hi All! 
 

Im considering taking a job at a cardiology clinic and the position is in imaging. So it’s nuclear stress tests, Echos, stress echos, MRI/CT’s. Does anyone do this and if so, what’s it like for you? I have a great job currently in a surgery center but I’m looking at getting closer to home and I love cardiology. Also, I’d be leaving a hospital setting for a clinical setting which makes me super nervous. Thanks for any advice or personal stories!! 

dianah, ASN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 47 years experience. 9 Articles; 3,428 Posts

First I recommend you procure a job description, as RN duties/responsibilities may vary according to the facility. 

This will likely be more procedure-oriented than what you are used to when working in a hospital setting.  You will gain new skills but use a lot of your current Nursing skills as well.   You may find you enjoy being more autonomous.  BE SURE there are written procedure protocols, SOPs for expectations and requirements of the RN, and standing orders that may turn out to be very helpful to cover your decisions and actions, according to your scope of practice.

All I can do is guess what will be your duties: starting IVs for MRIs/CTs/echocardiograms that require image enhancement.   You may get called if the patient experiences an allergic reaction to the iodinated contrast agent used in CT, or to the Gadolinium used for MRIs.  Do they have meds readily available, and a SOP for what to do (some reactions are mild, others more severe, involving airway obstruction)?  Is there appropriate post-procedure, post-exam patient instruction given (e.g., rarely, some contrast reactions occur hours after the exam.  also, if the patient develops an allergic reaction to the contrast, are there materials given to the patient and family, instructing them they are now allergic to ____________ and how important it is to inform staff who will be performing future procedures/exams --- ANYONE!  --- that they are allergic to the contrast agent?

Make sure there is an MD on site and readily available before any medications are administered. 

Administer Dobutamine for stress echos.  Monitor the patient during stress echos; administer pharmacologic agents for MPIs; monitor patients during exercise stress tests.

Will you be the only person in the area with ACLS/BLS?  Hopefully you will not be the only one with ACLS, and others with ACLS will be available, so you will have backup.  You will likely be responsible for daily crash cart checks. 

As an out-patient Cardiology Clinic, what is their procedure for patients who need care escalated (e.g.: patient arrests during a 'routine' procedure)?  Do you call 911 or ????

Again, it would be most helpful for you to have a job description, and possibly to shadow staff for a day, to see what the environment is like.  I hope, if you take the position, that you have a good, strong, cohesive group to work with (excellent technologists and MDs to work with)!

Let us know how it goes.  Sorry this is so disjointed, it's hard to anticipate what you will need to know and do, without knowing --- well, what you will need to know and do, LOL!

 

 

Footnote: I worked in a hospital Radiology/Imaging department for 21 years, and it was very interesting and rewarding!

McKMM

McKMM

8 Posts

Dianah,

you hit the nail on the head! I talked to them today and everything you said is exactly what she told me to expect. I won’t be the only ACLS person as there will always be an MD on site and 3 others (2 RN’s, CMA, and exercise physiologist) . 
It sounds like you have a ton of experience in this field! Thank you for your great response! 

dianah, ASN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 47 years experience. 9 Articles; 3,428 Posts

I hope you will share your learning curve with us, and let us know how things are going! 

McKMM

McKMM

8 Posts

dianah, 

Thank you so much for all of the great information a while back! You asked that I share the learning curve after a while and here I am to respond! So, really, it wasn't much at all. Everything is pretty simple and straight forward. Protocols are definitely your best friend in this area. My 3rd day on the job and someone had a stroke (thank goodness I had years of EMT experience and was able to treat accordingly!). The biggest issues I have seen so far are the very old who take a longer time to recover and usually need the aminophylline or those having adverse reactions to the medications we use (lexiscan, adenosine, MRI/CT contrasts, etc). I love cardiac involved nursing so I am learning a lot about cardiac disease and treatment options since our testing is usually for pre op or disease progression determination. Thank you so much for your response a while ago and I hope you are well!

 

dianah, ASN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 47 years experience. 9 Articles; 3,428 Posts

How nice to hear from you, and good you are settling into the position!  I appreciate the update!  I am doing well, and hope you are too, and that you continue to enjoy working in this area!