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


I have worked ICU and currently in the ER. I can not see this being a useful tool in the ER.  In the ICU we where responsible for looking at X-rays and having some idea of what we where looking at. It helped us to better understand what was going on with you patient and what to expect as far as treatment.  Working in a busy ER there is no way a nurse could have time to view x-rays.  Yes there are interesting cases and we do look at those films but that is all you have time for. Taking on the task of reading x-rays is opening a huge can of worms not necessary for nursing! Understanding x-rays is for the trained eye.  I think as nurses we need to stick with what we are trained to do and remember that we did not go to medical or radiology school.

Original Post
October 9, 2009
Title: 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
diagnosis. 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
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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