Oncology ICU

  1. Hey guys.

    I currently work on a cardiac ICU floor and have never been less excited about anything in my life. I worked on a progressive care/tele floor before this position and frequently had heme/onc patients and I just love them. I love that patient population and want to bend over backwards and twist to help them as much as I can.

    But I wanted other experience first, before I committed my career to oncology. I'm about ready to make the transition and discovered that oncology ICUs exist in certain places. What?! I didn't realize this was even an option and wanted feedback from fellow nurses who may have some insight on this. Thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   oncnursemsn
    Great post- so just letting you know that Oncology ICU's do exist- but these patients are probably the most difficult and heart wrenching patients you'll ever have. I think most nurses know that by the time a cancer patient reaches the ICU- their chances for survival are nil. So your task as a nurse might not be critical care but helping your patient- or more importantly- their family walk their final journey. And they won't forget your expertise and advocacy. Hang in there.
    J. Brodbeck, RN, MSN, AOCNS
  4. by   danceyrun
    Have you ever considered bone marrow transplant?
  5. by   jema1990
    @danceyrun, Um, the hospital I work for has three oncology floors. The two main ones (41/42) are divided between general heme/onc (41) and BMT patients (42). I believe their nurses float between 41/42. I have never cared for a BMT patient but have no reason to believe I wouldn't love it. I know that when our BMT patients get critical, they go to our transplant ICU rather than stay on 42. Why do you ask?
  6. by   Here.I.Stand
    I'm not danceyrun, but I thought her suggestion a good one because it's oncology meets critical care. At least what I could tell from my minimal experience. I used to work in a hospital that had a BMT unit that had ICU rooms within that unit. I was a SICU/CVICU nurse there, but BMT was part of our group o' float units for overstaffed days, and as an ICU RN they always gave us the ICU rooms when we floated to BMT. Even the pts in the non-ICU rooms could be veeeeery sick though--neutropenic, GVHD, lots of high needs. Just putting out there that not all hospitals "do" BMT the same.

    In any case though, I wanted to wish you the best in your endeavors! This pt population needs nurses with such a heart for it!!
  7. by   danceyrun
    Quote from Here.I.Stand
    I'm not danceyrun, but I thought her suggestion a good one because it's oncology meets critical care. At least what I could tell from my minimal experience. I used to work in a hospital that had a BMT unit that had ICU rooms within that unit. I was a SICU/CVICU nurse there, but BMT was part of our group o' float units for overstaffed days, and as an ICU RN they always gave us the ICU rooms when we floated to BMT. Even the pts in the non-ICU rooms could be veeeeery sick though--neutropenic, GVHD, lots of high needs. Just putting out there that not all hospitals "do" BMT the same.

    In any case though, I wanted to wish you the best in your endeavors! This pt population needs nurses with such a heart for it!!

    That's exactly it! I work BMT and our patients are very sick. It is the perfect balance between super sick and sweet (most of the time!) oncology pts.
  8. by   blondy2061h
    Most places will not have an oncology ICU because critically ill surgical oncology patients are much different than critically ill medical oncology patients. In fact, this post is the first I've ever heard of such a thing.
  9. by   HouTx
    In most hospitals, the size of the patient population would not be sufficient to warrant a specialty ICU, so they are admitted to a 'regular' ICU. However, hospitals that specialize in cancer treatment are much more likely to have an oncology ICU... and of course, in THE Cancer hospitals such as Sloan Kettering or MD Anderson - all the ICUs focus on oncology.

    In my own experience, one of the most difficult types of ICU patients to manage were those suffering from tumor necrosis syndrome - multi-system decompensation, immunosuppression, coupled with bleeding problems, mucosal ulcers - YIKES!
  10. by   Lev <3
    I'm pretty sure Hopkins has a surgical ICU focused on oncology patients. I think it's called the WICU. The W is the first letter of the last name of one of their donors.
  11. by   Miracleday
    I am an oncology nurse and now I am applying for icu. I was thinking that icu and Oncology were not a matching team until I found out about oncology icu!!! I am so excite
  12. by   ZrowGz
    Hello! I was just hired as a new grad into a critical care residency that rotates through all of this hospital's ICUs, with an ONC ICU being one of the 7.

    Did you pursue work in this type of ICU? What was it like?

    Thanks!

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