Answer to Question #9761 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q

Is it within a nurse's scope of practice to perform fluoroscopic imaging procedures? I actually think the short answer is “no," because we don't go into specifics of telling people what their scope of work is, but thought you might be a better person to answer this.

A

Typically, x rays can only be administered to humans by a physician or a licensed x-ray technologist—and only under the order of a physician. This is regulated by the state you are in and most likely will reside with the regulations regarding licensure of x-ray technologists.

Ohio, for example, regulates this in the Ohio Administrative Code OAC 3701-72, which can be found at www.odh.ohio.gov under "rules," then "final." In cardiac catheterization laboratories in Ohio, there is a provision for certain persons (nurses included) who are not x-ray technologists to perform certain functions in regard to x-ray procedures (positioning the patient, moving the x-ray unit, resetting the fluoroscopy timer, and developing a radiographic image). In all cases in Ohio, the following items can only be performed by a licensed practitioner or a licensed x-ray technologist: adjusting/setting technique factors, activating the exposure switch, and assuring adequate radiation protection to the patient and other individuals in the procedure room.

You should consult the regulations for the state you are in to determine the scope and extent of what applies to your situation.


Kennith "Duke" Lovins, CHP
Health Physicist
Answer posted on 7 June 2011. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.