Don't worry about being a male nurse! Yes, male nurses are in the minority, but we have several on our floor (medical/oncology) and I love them all.
Somethings I see/deal a lot with in oncology:
- Blood work results (esp. blood counts, electrolytes, liver function tests, and kidney function tests)
- IV therapy, including central lines (i.e. PICCs)
- Blood product administration
- Dealing with serious infections (as chemo pretty much kills the patient's immune system)
- Psychosocial support (for both the patient and their families/friends!), and on a similar note, death and dying
- Pain management
- Nausea and vomiting management (i.e. how to control it, anticipating the effects on the body, such as the electrolytes)
- Mucositis management (not only is it painful but we've had people who are very malnourished because they cannot eat)
It's a lot and it's a steep learning curve. However, there is so much opportunity to learn in oncology, and when you can explain to a patient what to expect with their treatments, when you know enough to manage a patient's pain or nausea well, then you will feel amazing and your patients will be grateful to you.
Plus, we tend to see the patients come to us a lot - they come in for treatments, get discharged, come back in a few weeks for more treatments, etc. As a result, you get a unique opportunity to really build relationships with certain patients, and I love it when patients return, we bump into each other in the hallway, and they greet me with a huge smile before we chat for a few minutes. The downside, though, is when their disease ultimately progresses and their prognosis is poor, so it can be an emotionally draining job, too.
Still, I do not regret choosing to go into oncology at all!