The April 12 celebration of Radiologic and Imaging Nurses Day (also known as Radiology Nurses Day) honors nurses who specialize in areas of radiology nursing. Sponsored by the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nursing (ARIN), this event helps raise awareness of this role and offers an opportunity for nurses to celebrate their accomplishments in this fast-paced, complex field.

In 1981, ARIN was founded to represent and advance the role of nurses in radiology. According to the ARIN website, nurses in this specialty work in areas as varied as neuro/cardiovascular, interventional, ultrasonography, computerized tomography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance, and radiation oncology.

Minority Nurse recently interviewed Martha M Manning BSN, RN CRN, and president of NEC-ARIN 2020-21, the New England chapter of ARIN to find out more about this nursing specialty.

What led you to your career as a radiology nurse?

My mother was a nurse and loved it. It was a career she chose to give up to raise her family of nine children but she kept up with her nursing journals and her colleagues still in the field. She always loved it. I believe nursing is a gift and helping people was a driving force in becoming a nurse for me. I graduated in 1984 from Middlesex Community College with an associate’s in nursing. I began my career at Lowell General Hospital in 1985 and started in the Radiology department in 1997. I earned my bachelor’s of science in nursing from Rivier University in 1995. Earning my degree has equipped me to be a better nurse. After all of those years and all of the experience, I had I still had things to learn.

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Please tell me a little about the diversity on your team and why that’s important for your team and your patients.

I began as one of the first nurses in radiology. I was floated down from our surgical day care unit and saw a need for nursing presence. Joint Commission was noticing radiology departments and the need for continued nursing care for inpatients in the area. I fell in love with the people of radiology, the work they did and have never looked back.

As we expanded from a team of one to a team of ten we’ve organically become more diverse through our focus on providing the best patient care. Our hiring is aimed at providing an excellent patient experience, which has naturally led to diversity in experiences, backgrounds, races, ethnicity, and gender. Our diverse and well-rounded team is an outcome of our process of hiring the best candidates to serve our patients.

It sounds like nurses need experience in varied areas before they take on a role as an imaging nurse. What are some of the complexities imaging nurse’s work with and how does prior experience prepare nurses for this work? 

Interventional radiology is an extraordinary field, and imaging nursing is growing with it. The acuity of patients that are on the procedural table now requires an experienced critical care nurses education and background.

The team can be called in to stop bleeding from a hemorrhaging splenic arterial bleed or a post-partum hemorrhage. Everyone needs to know their role, critical and accurate nursing assessments are vital to the success of the cases. It takes time to develop cardiac rhythm and hemodynamic monitoring skills and assessments that need to be second language to the IR nurse. Compassion is so important too! Consensus on hiring is important to our culture of respect and professionalism.

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What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am currently the clinical manager of the IR and imaging nurses at Lowell General Hospital. I do love making a difference. Sometimes it’s with patients and now it’s often with staff, too. Good management makes for a good team. Mutual respect enables us to practice in an environment that supports growth and looks for opportunity to improve.

How has your involvement with NEC-ARIN helped you professionally and personally?

Yes. I believe membership to a local or national organization as well as certification in your specialty improves professional practice. Position statements, scope, and standards of practice are important pieces of our growing practice.

You will find IR and imaging nurses in every hospital today. We are in IR suites, in radiology waiting rooms, CT rooms, and US. We are here to support the radiology departments and the inpatient nurses who send their patients from their rooms for procedures and exams. We comfort, educate, and assess people of all ages and background…and we love what we do!

Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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