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Radiology nurses work in general hospitals, specialty centers, and doctors' offices to care for patients undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic radiation sessions. They provide initial patient evaluations, explain procedures, and help doctors analyze results. A person who wants to become a radiology nurse usually needs to first obtain a bachelor's degree in nursing and pass a registered nurse licensing examination. After earning a degree, a nurse can join a specialized hospital program that combines classroom studies and practical training to gain the skills necessary to become a radiology nurse.
In most countries, a person who wants to become a radiology nurse is required to obtain a college degree. Some people pursue associate's degrees in nursing from community colleges or vocational schools, though most prospective radiology nurses choose to attend four-year universities to earn bachelor's degrees. In general, a bachelor's degree program provides more detailed explanations of human health, medicine, biology, and other topics that a radiology nurse needs to understand in depth. Many schools offer nursing students the opportunity to become interns at local hospitals and clinics while earning their degrees to gain practical experience.
After graduation, an individual can take an examination to earn registered nurse credentials. Exams are administered by regional or national licensing boards and test new nurses' understanding of the fundamentals of medical ethics and patient care. After earning the title of registered nurse, a professional can begin working independently in a hospital or critical care center while looking into options to become a radiology nurse.
Many hospitals and nursing schools offer programs designed specifically for nurses who want to work in radiology. Since radiology is a unique and complicated branch of health care, a program may take up to two years to complete. A nurse has the opportunity to work alongside experienced radiology professionals while also attending lecture courses to learn terminology, techniques, and common procedures. A nurse who completes training can take a national exam to become a certified radiology nurse. Most new professionals work in large hospitals, though some are able to find jobs in specialty private practices.
Once a person is able to become a radiology nurse and gains several years of experience in the field, he or she may be able to advance to a supervisory position. Some professionals choose to pursue master's degrees while working in hospitals to become nurse practitioners, opening up many more opportunities for advancement within a radiology department. Depending on the setting, a radiology nurse practitioner may be allowed to independently interpret radiological test results and make final treatment decisions.
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