Hands-on education aims to spur interest in radiology nursing

2021 09 30 22 35 2834 Doctor Student Nurse Medical Personnel 400

A new immersion program that emphasizes hands-on experiences for nursing students aims to boost interest in interventional radiology nursing and help with a looming shortage, according to research published September 30 in the Journal of Radiology Nursing.

A team led by Dr. Laura Goliat from Ursuline College in Ohio developed a radiology immersion experience program for undergraduate students that will debut in the spring 2022 semester. The researchers said the program will provide an approach to learning and generate interest in radiology nursing as a future career path.

"The pending nursing shortage has created unique opportunities for radiology nursing and underscored the need for academic-practice collaboration," Goliat and colleagues wrote.

As baby boomers continue to retire, a nursing shortage looms, particularly for interventional radiology nurses. The World Health Organization estimates a critical shortage of 5.9 million nurses worldwide by 2030. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services meanwhile predicts there will be about 3.6 million nurses needed in the U.S. alone to meet demand.

The researchers pointed to a lack of student exposure to specialty areas during their nursing education as a possible factor contributing to the shortage.

"Of concern, there is typically little or no exposure to interventional radiology in nursing program curricula which poses a significant challenge for succession," they said. "An aging nursing workforce, increase in the number of interventional radiology procedures and lack of exposure to interventional radiology experiences in nursing curricula will likely have significant consequences for the field of radiology nursing in the future."

Goliat et al designed their three-phase radiology immersion experience program to increase student knowledge of interventional radiology nursing, promote a sustainable approach for the continued workforce growth, and generate interest in interventional radiology nursing as a possible career path for future nurses. They are working with the University Hospitals of Cleveland's radiology department to help facilitate training.

The program emphasizes hands-on experiences, such as one-on-one clinical experiences with registered nurses. Other experiences include guided tours of departments and onsite orientation by nursing education staff.

At Ursuline College, the first phase of the immersion program will begin in the spring 2022 semester. Nursing students enrolled in the program's fundamentals nursing course and in their first clinical rotation will work on targeted radiology modules and then participate in a two-hour immersive classroom session that will introduce them to radiology.

The second phase, beginning in the fall 2022 semester, will see students provide hands-on radiological care to patients. Areas of focus will include interventional radiology, MRI, ultrasound, and mammography, among others. Students will also further learn radiology roles, such as quality tracking, regulatory issues, and professionalism.

The third phase, set for spring 2023, will see students complete two seven-hour clinical days with a nurse preceptor in the radiology department.

The college team said while quantitative measuring of student outcomes is needed to evaluate the program's success, the exposure will help promote radiology as an "attractive, desirable job opportunity" for nurses.

"Engaging in partnerships to develop programs such as the radiology immersion experience have great potential to increase opportunities for career development, enhance student learning, support systems-thinking, provide interprofessional experiences for students, and peak interest in pursuing a career as a radiology nurse," the group wrote.

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