Would it be helpful for nurses to have actual X-rays on the computer?


Currently physicians can pull up the actual x rays and ct scans on the computer but nurses can only pull up the report. Now I agree not all nurses can read X rays but in the ER, ICU and Recovery Room seasoned nurses can read basic films (chest x ray, bones for fractures, etc). I was taught this skill when I first trained in critical care. As a nurse I always appreciate the ability to look at a film and be able to see if my patient has fractured ribs, which would prepare me to understand the complications for this type of fracture. Or to see a pneumo following central line placement and have a chest tube set up at the bedside when the physician arrives. In the ER I can set up for a closed reduction if I have access to the films. Most of the time a nurse has more time to keep checking for results than do physicians. Additionally, printed reports are, in most cases, not downloaded into the computer system until long after the patient receives treatment. I am an advocate for electronic documentation and medical records however nursing education and the level of knowledge we have these days is under estimated. Yes, the radiologist reads the results and the physician orders the treatment but most nurses can anticipate what the treatment will be which in turn decreases both patient and physician wait time and decreases the risks associated with those wait times.

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