Search IconSearch

A Look at Imaging Nursing

These specialty nurses facilitate critical procedures


There are more than 100 nursing specialties, many of which are well-known to both nursing students and the general public, such as emergency, medical/surgical and pediatrics. While other specialties may not garner as much attention, they are equally rewarding career options and deserve recognition. One such field is radiologic and imaging nursing.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Desiree Chizmadia, MSN, RN, has been an imaging nurse for about six years and now serves as nurse manager for the specialty at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, where she oversees more than 100 imaging nurses. “I don’t think people realize what imaging nurses do,” says Chizmadia. “It’s an evolving field, and it’s fascinating!”

A typical day for an imaging nurse

Radiologic and imaging nurses perform a variety of tasks and are represented by The Association for Radiologic & Imaging Nursing (ARIN). Founded in 1981, the ARIN is a professional organization for nurses who practice in diagnostic, neuro/cardiovascular, interventional, ultrasonography, computerized topography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance and radiation oncology.

During a typical day at Cleveland Clinic, an imaging nurse may see dozens of patients in the procedure room who are undergoing MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, angioplasties, biopsies and other procedures. Among their tasks, imaging nurses may do the following:

  • Coordinate imaging appointments
  • Answer questions that patients may have about their procedures
  • Review the patient’s medical history
  • Assess the patient’s health, and ensure that he or she is fit for the exam
  • Prepare patients for the procedure
  • Monitor the patient’s vital signs
  • Administer and supervise any required IV injections
  • Administer light sedation and medication, if needed
  • Suction patients, insert Foley catheters and help with other personal needs
  • Observe the patient’s recovery, and oversee discharge after the procedure is completed
  • Provide post-procedure instructions to patients
  • Work in conjunction with physicians ordering the procedures and radiology technicians performing them


Fast-paced and patient-focused

Perhaps one of the most important jobs of radiologic and imaging nurses is alleviating patient anxiety. Many people undergoing a procedure are nervous about the test itself, as well as any possible negative results. As with other specialties, these nurses can put patients at ease.

“We may only see patients for a short amount of time, but we do make a difference,” says Chizmadia. “For example, we have a breast navigator who helps coordinate imaging appointments with patients who are diagnosed with cancer. She gets accolades all the time from people who appreciate a friendly face during their time of need. She’s there to help people through the process.”

Like other imaging nurses at Cleveland Clinic, Chizmadia worked on an inpatient unit prior to becoming an imaging nurse. The healthcare organization requires nurses have a strong inpatient background prior to becoming an imaging nurse because the job requires keen assessment skills and experience. “You are the frontline caregiver and often have to make judgement calls about the patient before, during and after the procedure,” she says.

After five years on an inpatient unit, Chizmadia joined the imaging team because she was “looking for something challenging in a nontraditional specialty.” Imaging nursing piqued her interest. “With imaging nursing, it’s something different all the time, but you still build relationships with patients who come in frequently,” she says.


Related Articles

Headshot of nurse Mary Montague-McCown
Patient Skin Care: Protecting the Body’s Largest Organ (Podcast)

Wound, ostomy and continence nurses provide skin assessments, wound prevention measures, treatment and education

Patient care at home
Nurses Deliver Hospital Care in the Comfort of Patients’ Own Homes

Virtual model enables around-the-clock management of common acute conditions

Nurses in clinical environment
April 29, 2024/Nursing/Clinical Nursing
Residency Programs Support and Develop Assistant Nurse Managers

Resources, education, mentoring help nurses segue to formal leadership roles

Headshot of nurse Rose Hosler
April 26, 2024/Nursing/Clinical Nursing
Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: The Role of Holistic Nurses (Podcast)

Holistic nurses work across all nursing specialties to support patients and caregivers

Headshots of Woodward and Blankemeier
March 13, 2024/Nursing/Clinical Nursing
Home Care: Moving Beyond the Hospital (Podcast)

Nurses play pivotal role in patients’ ability to recover in the comfort of their own homes

Head shot of nurse Dena Salamon
February 29, 2024/Nursing/Clinical Nursing
Speaking Up in the Perioperative Setting (Podcast)

Advocating for patient safety is imperative in fast-paced surgical settings

December 26, 2023/Nursing/Clinical Nursing
Nurse-Led Effort Pays Off by Reducing CLABSIs

Redesigned protocols enhance infection-prevention measures