New grad RN on Medical Oncology...what supplies and tips?

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    I am a brand new RN and start my first job in about a week and a half on a busy Medical Oncology floor...First of all let me say that at first I was skeptical, but now that I have been doing some research I am actually very honored and excited to be given this opportunity as a brand new nurse on this floor.

    Any experienced Oncology RN's have any tips on tools I may need to make my job easier? I need a new stethoscope (someone stole my last one grrrrrrr) and I'm wondering if the Littman Cardiology III is sufficient for this type of floor. Also, with the medical side, what types of patients will I be seeing? I know, I probably should have asked during my interview but I was so nervous! I want to do some review before I start on the unit so I don't drive my preceptor completely nuts!

    I come from a different skillset as I worked with psychiatric patients and drug addicts before and I know that oncologists are not going to be like the psychiatrists. Tips on how to deal with them or not tick them off? Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make a good impression and get off on the right foot and be the best nurse I can be! Thanks!
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

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    When I worked medical oncology we had patients that were admitted for a variety of things. They had cancer but was admitted for other things unrelated. We had patients that were admitted for chemo and blood products. And inpatient hospice. I learned a lot working on that floor for 2 years. I also worked on a BMT floor when they were short staffed too. The medical oncology floor was a med surg floor but the patients all had a cancer diagnoses.

    I had a classic and bought an extremely bright color with my name engraved. And I never laid it down. I always keep it on me. If you want the cardiology one that's fine but a less expensive one will be ok too.
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    I have always found oncologists to be the most approachable doctors and the doctors who respect the multidisciplinary team the most.

    Inpatient oncology floors vary... is your floor solely medical oncology? If so, I'd say you'll get a lot of chemo patients and a lot of patients admitted for the complications of chemo (fever/neutropenia, electrolyte/fluid imbalances, etc.) as well as new diagnoses. How big is the hospital? That will probably dictate the kinds of patients you'll see as well. A huge teaching hospital would probably send lung cancer to thoracic, brain cancer to neuro, colon cancer to surgical oncology and leukemia to medical oncology. A smaller hospital would have all of those patients on the same floor.
    soberminded likes this.
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    The entire hospital has 425 beds, and there are 50 on my unit/floor with 10 designated solely for the cancer patients...There is a general med/surg unit in the hospital so I am assuming the medical oncology is either the overflow for the med/surg unit or the more critical patients that aren't critical enough for ICU but I'm not sure for certain. I start tomorrow, but I am starting to get super nervous so I am trying to figure out what to review re: disease process/equipment/tx. I know there are a lot of blood transfusions done so I'm wondering if I should maybe get a lot of review in on IV therapy? Ahhhhh!!!!!!
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    Starting as an RN, how exciting. I love oncology, and would never leave the specialty. As a new grad, I would think they may not give you chemotherapy patients, or the ones there for chemo side effects. If you are working mostly with oncology patients, then you would see lots of blood, antiobiotics, chemo, pain control, and patient who are there for workups. The hardest part for me to learn was how to listen. Newly diagnosed patients have a lot of emotions to deal with and they don't necessarily want answers, but someone to listen and hold their hand. Each oncology patient needs something different and learning to read what will help them most takes times. Also, I highly recommend you take the ONS Biotherapy & Chemotherapy class (your facility may have their own chemotherapy certification requirements) because it is very helpful to new oncology nurses.

    The best advice I can give you is to be an active learner. Sometimes nurses know things from experience and don't always remember to share their insights so ask questions. If your ready to learn all you can, then you are ready to be a good nurse. Good luck and don't let the bad days throw you off, but rather learn from them.
    soberminded and jojo111 like this.


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