Becoming a PCT then a Pediatric Oncology Nurse

  1. Hey there,

    Im looking for advice from people with experience. I recently became a CNA in sacramento, I have been thinking of doing a job as a PCT because you have more involved in that job and a wider range of places to work. Wondering if anyone knows of a program in the area? Or if a PCT course exists or if it is the same as a Medical Assistant course?

    My second question is about a long term career as a pediatric oncologist nurse. I am starting community college in the fall it will be my first year. Does anyone know what courses I should take? Does it work in the order of pre-reqs, rn program, then specialty pediatric oncology program? How long would I be in school for rough estimate? Any information on either of these careers would be so appreciated. I have no one with any real guiding advice. Thank you!!
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    About nursenancy_12

    Joined: Dec '12; Posts: 2


  3. by   Luckyyou
    As far as I am aware, there's no such thing as a pediatric oncology program for nurses. I got a job doing adult oncology right out of nursing school without any specialty training (you can get chemotherapy certified as well as other certifications, but many of them require experience in the area). You will graduate RN school as a generalist. Most new grads are having to take any job they can get, so you may have to start out in a med/surg area (or even LTC) before getting into the specialty you want. From what I gather, pre-reqs usually take about two years, followed by a two year nursing program. I did a four year BSN program that didn't require prereqs, however. All of our classes were taken at the same time. I was a PCT throughout nursing school but never needed CNA certification (or medical assistant). Once I passed my first semester of nursing school, I was qualified for the PCT job, according to my hospital.
  4. by   nursenancy_12
    So you are saying that basically go to school for rn or bsn then with experience I can join a specific field. And the pct doesn't require necessary training but probably knowledge of phlebotomy or anatomy. Now you said you went to a four year bsn program. Is that better than an rn? Im sorry for sounding so clueless but I am. Your advice has been the first sound advice I have received and I appreciate it so much. Are you happy as far as your career choice now?
  5. by   KelRN215
    A four year BSN program is a path to an RN, not "better than an RN". A BSN is a degree, an RN is a license you receive from the state.

    The PP is correct. There is no such thing as a pediatric oncology nursing program. You complete nursing school, pass NCLEX and then apply for jobs. With experience, there is a pediatric oncology certification exam you could take (CPON) but it is only possible to do this after obtaining pediatric oncology nursing experience. If you want to work in a specialty area, you're much better off getting your BSN as more and more hospitals (and especially the larger ones that have specialties like pediatric oncology) are beginning to demand them.

    A PCT position is quite similar to a CNA position in my state. None of the large academic hospitals in my city called their aides "CNAs"... they were PCAs, PCTs, Clinical Assistants, etc. because these hospitals did not always require CNA certification to work in these roles.
  6. by   HouTx
    Agree with PPs. Check with the organization to see what the requirements are for PCT positions. In many organizations, these are positions reserved for nursing students.