Congratulations to all of you on starting your new careers! This is an exciting time for you, and I wish you all the best. As far as tips/pointers go, there are a few things to remember when starting out as a new grad.
1) It takes time to adjust, usually about 6 months to a year before you really feel comfortable and get into a groove. This is normal and your manager, charge nurses and other coworkers should be supportive of this.
2) Time management is often the hardest skill to learn. So much of what we do is task oriented, but we still want to pull it all together into a comprehensive and thorough plan of care. That can be hard to do when you're concentrating on learning skills, but be patient. The skills will come the more you practice.
3) Watch the experienced people - learn from them, take the tips and tricks that work for you and leave the rest, you'll need to trust your own judgment on this.
As far as oncology specific stuff goes, there is a lot of info. Oncology is unique in that it can impact every bodily system in weird and bizarre ways. I once saw a patient with blue skin! No, he wasn't hypoxic, it was some sort of reaction between his chemo, liver and other meds. Strange but true. What you encounter the most will depend on the patient population you are dealing with. I've worked all kinds except pediatric. One was solid tumor w/ mostly head and neck, colon, and prostate patients: lots of trachs, g-tubes, foleys, ostomies and carotid bleed outs. One was solid tumor w/ tele overflow, one BMT and another medical oncology w/ inpatient radiation (lead lined rooms for MIBG and people w/ radioactive implants for cervical cancer or sarcoma). The most common things encountered on all of them were:
1) Interns and residents who are afraid to write for narcotics. In a teaching hospital they rotate so you need to get them comfortable with the cancer patient population. These people have cancer for crying out loud, they are not drug seeking. You need to advocate for your patients and get the docs to write for an appropriate dose that will actually do them some good.
2) Fluid/electrolyte imbalances: lots of dehydration, and complications from the cancer and treatment. You'll be giving lots of supps. Also blood products of all kinds. Folks with liver involvement may have impaired clotting in addition to low platelets, so FFP as well as platelets and PRBC's.
3) Risk of infection/neutropenic fever. Lots of antibiotics, contact precautions and protective isolation. Buy some decent lotion that's compatible with your facilities' products, you'll be washing your hands a lot.
4) GI/GU issues: diarrhea from disease, treatmemt, GVHD, etc. or constipation from the opioids. Either way it's a frequent symptom that needs to be managed.
5) Dyspnea/pain - more symptom management
6) Psychosocial needs for patients and families - this one is a no brainer. You very well may have your own "Terms of Endearment" moment. Just try to be understanding and not let their anxiety get to you. Everyone copes differently. Don't forget your own needs. See my post on "Am I the only one?"
That's all I can think of for now. It's 2am and time for bed. I wish you all the best of luck and please do keep us posted on how you're doing.