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

In some cases it would be very helpful for nurses to have access to xrays on computer. In critical areas such as ER and ICU this would be very helpful, however, we must use caution and educate nurses into what they are actually viewing. It is important to know how to deconstruct a CXR from the cspine down to the diaphragm. Know where the level of the carina is. Has anyone ever tried to Google "level of carina"? Try it and see what you get. It would be helpful for Critical Care RNs to be taught how to read xrays, not by other nurses, but by Radiologists, to show us how THEY break down a film. Many questions arise when looking at CXRs. What is too dark, what is too light? Does over- or under-penetration even matter? Depends on what you are looking for. Having quick access to xrays would assist the nurse who is proactive in their patient care. You can prepare for certain treatments if you have a basic understanding of radiologic exams. What does free air look like? What should you be looking for when following an NG tube down below the diaphragm? Nurses should use caution though. Too much knowledge can be harmful also. Take care with reading xrays, and ask for assistance.

Original Post
April 20, 2009
Title: Would it be helpful for nurses to have actual X-rays on the computer? (comment)
As a nurse who has worked in various settings,
I believe it would be beneficial for nurses to have access to the
actual film. Most hospitals and some smaller facilities are now able to
place these films online so that the physicians can review them from
anywhere. Agreeably most nurses do not know how to read xrays but some
are able to look at the xray and see a broken rib, a white out or such.
This would be helpful to the nurse to understand the patients problem
and to anticipate treatment. The other part of this is if the nurse has
access and it is in an area where she could show it to the family and
TEACH and INSTRUCT them as to what is wrong with their loved one it may
decrease anxiety and assist with the treatment of that patient. I don’t
believe nurses should be the first one to observe the xray and share it
with others because this would be above their scope of practice.
However, to be able to utilize these tools to learn and teach others
would be a great asset.

Original Post:
April 7, 2009
Digital images, such as X-rays and scans, will be stored on computer –
enabling them to be sent by email or stored in a USB device. This ends
the need to physically transfer X-rays or scans by hand from hospital
department to another. This is extremely important that the diagnosis
could be made faster and so as the treatment. Also, other health
professional could share the same information and of course we need the
patient’s consent.
This will also eventually see patient records
being stored electronically and all GPs making hospital appointments
for their patients from computers in their surgeries.
People in
rural areas will especially benefit because it will save many journeys
to hospital. The digital image will follow the patient wherever they go
and will be able to be recalled whenever and wherever they need to be
accessed by a patient’s healthcare professional. In addition to
patients not having to wait whilst their X-rays are processed and
delivered by hand from one department to another, clinicians will no
longer have to hold X-rays up to a light box in A and E to make a
There will be improved staff and patient safety due to
reductions in radiation dosages from X-rays and avoiding the use of
hazardous chemicals for film processing.
Apart from that, health
professionals should learn to read the X-rays and scans so this would
be more beneficial to patients through different other therapies.
Although, protection of client’s private details would be another issue
to be considered.

Original Post:
March 6, 2009
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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