I'm thinking of applying for a position that reads; RN Ambulatory - Oncology. I've worked ED, ICU, PACU, and of course good ol' Med/Surg. It looks like I meet their requirements and I was hoping someone could give me a little feedback.
The job description lists; able to work with radiation emitting equipment and wear appropriate protective garments. OK, to me that means this isn't chemo and we're dealing with radiation therapy. But another one reads; telemetry experience strongly prefer. Why would someone receiving radiation therapy be on a monitor? Isn't radiation therapy very focused? What I mean is if it's in your spine wouldn't you be flat on your stomach? Oncology is one area in which I have zero knowledge or experience. Any feedback on what the job entails and why someone would be on a monitor would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Jun 26, '12
In nursing school, I remember my professor saying Cancer patients do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. If their head falls off you should say, we were expecting that. I don't really know why tele experience would be required. Do you have an infusion center at the hospital where cancer patients would receive chemo? Because I would think that Onc nurses should be trained in chemo and radiation.
Jun 26, '12
Ambulatory means outpatient. So you'll likely be seeing patient who are coming in for intermittent outpatient treatments (could be chemo and/or radiation). But if the position doesn't require chemotherapy certification, then it doesn't look like you will be giving chemo.
Children often need radiation treatments for cancerous tumors. Pediatric brain tumors are often treated with several weeks of radiation treatments that can be done on an outpatient basis. In order for these treatments to be most effective, the child needs to stay still. You can imagine that it might be difficult for a child to stay still in a small space for the time it takes for a radiation treatment, so they are often given sedation for the procedure. Whenever you're giving sedation, cardiac monitoring is required. Hence, the request for telemetry experience. That's one reason, but there also might be others. I'm not that familiar with radiation therapy either, so it's possible that some patients with pre-existing cardiac conditions might need monitoring during radiation treatments too.
Jun 27, '12
I've been working in radiation oncology for the last nine years and the only thing I can think of is what someone else already stated above. Pedi patients need to be sedated. We don't treat pedi in our outpatient radiation center but our radiation nurse and radiation oncologist have to be ACLS certified because the nurse gives conscious sedation with Versed for our GYN cases who need internal radiation (brachytherapy). We have never had to monitor cardiac status on patients receiving regular external beam treatments. Our center isn't equipped for it because our cameras in the treatment room which are used by the radiation therapists to keep an eye on the patients while they are lying on the treatment table are in a fixed location and can't zoom in. Seeing a cardiac monitor would be near impossible to see.
We have also had some patients with pacemakers who need to have the pacemaker moved because it is in the treament field or too close to it. Any treatment to patients with pacemakers to their thorax area with radiation we contact the pacemaker company and they send a rep out to monitor the patient before and after their first treament. 9 times out of 10, the radiation has no effect on it.
I graduate this December and am 90% secured a job as the second RN in our radiation center and they are paying for me to get my ACLS certification after I graduate so I can do conscious sedation.
Jun 28, '12
Just a guess off the top of my head. The telemetry preference could also be because some chemo is cardiotoxic and requires EKGs/echos before the infusion can be started. I would imagine you'd be giving chemo as well.
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