Hematology/Oncology Nursing

  1. Hello,
    I'm a fairly new registered nurse (passed boards in May) and have had some months of experience on med-surg floors. Recently some jobs opened up in my area for hematology/oncology RNs. As someone with a very prevalent family history of cancer, I've become interested in applying for some of these positions. I have a few questions.
    1) What exactly do hematology/oncology nurses do?
    2) Do any of you worry about your own exposure to the anti-cancer medication?
    3) How is hematology/oncology nursing different from med/surg?

    Thank you all for your help.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   nursepearl
    I am a HemOnc Rn. At my hospital the Hem part is blood cancers (ie. leukemias) and then we also deal with solid cancers (ie. lymphomas, liver ca...etc)
    We give a lot of chemo and we also do stem cell transplants (the more common used to be bone marrow transplants), so yes, we are exposed to possibly dangerous drugs (but of course we have special training to give these meds).
    When I was in school I knew i wanted to be an ONC nurse as I enjoy the time we get to spend with our patients (most of our stem cell patients stay for at least a month), also we get to know their families. Its a very intamite speciality, which I love.
    oncology nursing isnt for everyone...it can be depressing as many of our patients do die. We are also a very busy floor so a lot of nurses do not stick around for long.
    Good luck to you!:wink2:
  4. by   Kim O'Therapy
    Quote from pnurseuwm
    Hello,
    I'm a fairly new registered nurse (passed boards in May) and have had some months of experience on med-surg floors. Recently some jobs opened up in my area for hematology/oncology RNs. As someone with a very prevalent family history of cancer, I've become interested in applying for some of these positions. I have a few questions.
    1) What exactly do hematology/oncology nurses do?
    2) Do any of you worry about your own exposure to the anti-cancer medication?
    3) How is hematology/oncology nursing different from med/surg?

    Thank you all for your help.
    Thanks for the great questions. I'm hoping to enter this field as well.
  5. by   kahnefanrn
    I love what I do as an Oncology nurse. I got out of nursing school and took the first job I could find on a med/surg floor. However we also took care of a handful of hem/onc pts. I fell in love and lef the hospital to work in another hospital that had a special floor for the hem/onc pts. We also did some stem cell transplants. Now I work in a doctors office doing outpatient chemo and hem/onc pt care. I have never been scared of teh drugs as long as you take special precautions with them. hem/on nursing deals with cancer and all the side effects of it. depending on what type of floor you are thinking about working on. Most pts will come in with neutropenia or other side effects. Good Luck.
  6. by   kurtjo
    i worked in many areas before but what challenged me most is working in onc floor. At present i'm an onco rn. It 's a busy floor. You have to deal w/ the patient and their families as well. you must be caring and compassionatemost especially if your patients as dying. I would say that sometimes it's depressing.....but I love and like what i'm doing.
    good luck to you
  7. by   shelly_oncRN
    :wink2: I also work in a drs office as onc rn, after 20 years on med/onc floors. I love the office as eventually I became a burnt out coping with cancer patients on floor - usually the ones who are seriously ill and do not recover. The office shows you the other side of onc nursing - those who do respond to treatment and recover. I also get more responsibility - i mix and give chemo, do research, councelling and get to follow the patients from diagnosis to cure (or sometimes to hospice).
    All I can say is that oncology nursing is a tremendiously hard but rewarding area to work in - if you have what it takes GO FOR IT
  8. by   cathy2
    Any advice on oncolgy nursing as a student nurse
    Last edit by cathy2 on Jan 13, '07 : Reason: no replys

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