Several issues:Technically, per OSHA, if proper precautions are taken AT ALL TIMES, there is nothing to preclude pregnant nurses from taking chemo patients. Having said that, in my experience, very few hospitals provide or teach proper chemo precautions, and many nurses do not follow proper precautions, thus endangering their coworkers.
Second, patients getting radiation, barring rad implants, orally ingested or IV injected radiation products or actually having radiation in your
presence, do not pose a danger to pregnant nurses. And those that will be exposed to active radiation byproduct are required to wear badges to assess exposure, and are
strictly limited - no pregnant nurses permitted. Very, very few oncology nurses work with these pts during the time period that they pose a danger, these PTs are a rarity in
Also, in many facilities, new grads do not take chemo classes until 6-12 months of employment, to allow you to become more secure in basic nursing before adding more advanced training.
Having said that, it is best to let your prospective employer know of any potential limitations of employment. This would hold true for many issues, such as inability to hang blood products, or administer methotrexate to women with ectopic pregnancies. Or they have so many specialized rad PTs/so much chemo, that having a pregnant nurse would not be doable.Yes, technically, you do not have to tell them, but ethically (and for your health and safety) you should. Some employers
, to limit liability, do limit care that pregnant nurses provide.
As a note, there are many drugs and chemicals in hospitals that are quite dangerous to pregnant nurses, and that are NOT CHEMO!!!!! The large number of nurses that I have seen on ICU or MedSurg floors free priming gangcyclovir or walking into RSV rooms while toxic aerosolization is going on, without any protection is shocking. I see Onco nurses often being careful with drugs, that other units handle willynilly.