Medical Imaging Nursing - A High Tech Career of Patient Care

Medical imaging nursing is a career of dual educational requirements. Nurses are trained to care for patients undergoing medical care and radiology technicians are trained to scan or film the human body as a means of diagnosis or treatment. When a nurse chooses a career in medical imaging nursing, additional training must be completed in imaging preparation, contrast administration and cannulation.

Medical imaging involves computed tomography, digital subtraction angiography, interventional neuroradiology, magnetic resonance imaging, fluoroscopy and general x-rays. None of these duties is commonly taught during registered nursing education and thus continuing education is needed to qualify for medical imaging nursing. Due to the rate at which advancements are being made in imaging technology, continuing education is often completed every six months to a year or as needed. Medical imaging nurses are there to prepare and care for patients before, during and after imaging only. Radiology technicians perform the actual imaging.

Medical Imaging and Prescription Medications

Medical imaging nursing, unlike floor nursing, uses a variety of prescription medications based on the needs of the patient at the time services are provided. Medical imaging is typically an outpatient procedure, so administration of prescription medications may be left to the lead nurse or doctor on call. Prescription medications may be given for anxiety, pain, muscle tension and venous or arterial spasm. Preparation for imaging process may also involve use of contrast dye, air, carbon dioxide, Barium sulphate, iodinated ionic contrast, iodinated non-ionic contrast and Gadolinium.

Adverse Reactions, Reassurance and Anaphylaxis

Patients may report mild to moderate side effects from contrast media used in many medical imaging situations. Mild reactions can include a metallic taste in the mouth, flushing of skin and feelings of warmth and inflammation of nasal membranes. Moderate reactions can include swelling, hives and difficulty breathing. Anaphylaxis is a rare reaction to contrast media, but one imaging nurses need to be highly aware may happen. Anaphylaxis requires a shot of epinephrine and immediate emergency attention.

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