Pediatric oncology?

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    Hi! I am starting nursing school this fall. I am applying for a work loan program. They have asked me what field I would like to go into on the application. I put NICU, PICU, or pediatric oncology. Truthfully I really do not know much about it, I just know I want to work w/ children. Can anyone give me a little background on the day in the life of a pediatric oncology nurse? Thanks you in advance for any help you can give me.
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    I'm a nursing student as well and my goal is to work in Pediatric Oncology. I hope someone else responds to this, I'd like to hear as well.
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    Pediatric oncology is a very demanding field on a lot of levels.

    It's technical in that there are as many different treatment protocols as there are stars in the sky. Some of them are so precisely regimented that although you might have four different chemo drugs you're starting at different times, they all have to finish at the same minute... three days from now. The kids are on a zillion meds and might have surgical dressings to change, off-unit trips for radiation treatments and any number of therapies that have to be coordinated. You need to know the meds inside and out so that you can observe for complications, interactions and side effects, which ones you can run together and which you can't, where can you run the blood, the platelets, the cryo or the FFP they might need... You need to handle all their drugs and body fluids according to cytotoxic precautions and you may have to practice reverse isolation techniques.

    It's physical in that the kids often are too weak from their diseases and the treatments to do much more than breathe. They need help with turns, personal care, toileting, you name it. Kids with brain tumors may not be able to move parts of their bodies at all.

    It's emotional because although there have been incredible gains in cancer treatment and survival, it's still a long hard road to a cure, and there are still cancers that aren't beatable. Oncology famiies are very well educated and will be able to tell you what your next move will be, and they ask very penetrating questions. When a child is first diagnosed the families are very needy of support and information. As time goes on their needs change, and when things start going awry, they change again. The kids are in and out of hospital frequently over several years and the nurses get to know the whole family very well. They get attached to them and feel profound greif when they lose a patient. But most of them will tell you that's the good part of it. They feel connected, involved and valued.

    It takes a special person to be a peds oncology nurse, and those that I have known have all been wonderful.
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    hey there.. it's great to hear the interest. been in the peds onco dept for 2-3 years and never wanted to leave.
    not only as what janfrn had mention but have to learn to think way ahead in patient care, especially when these children gets very very neutropenia and sick.. vigilant handwashing, etc..
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    I just passed my boards and have been asked by one of the hospitals if I would like PICU or Ped oncology. As a new nurse I really don't know what to choose, I know I love children,however you experienced nurses out there,what would you suggest?
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    Are you task oriented? Choose PICU. Are you goal oriented? Choose oncology. Of course there are goals in PICU and tasks in oncology, but the philosophies are a little different.

    Do you like technology and a quick pace? Choose PICU. Do you like interacting with your patients and families? Choose oncology. Kids in PICU are not very interactive for much of their stay; they're usually too ill to play or even be conscious of their surroundings. The pace on oncology is slower, but just as precise. Kids tend to stay relatively briefly in PICU and the relationships you develop with the family are different than those on oncology where the patients are often there for long periods and are readmitted frequently over the course of two or three years.

    Both areas have their own positives and negatives. The choice will come down to the type of care you want to provide.
    misscherie and Dianacabana like this.
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    Quote from janfrn
    Are you task oriented? Choose PICU. Are you goal oriented? Choose oncology. Of course there are goals in PICU and tasks in oncology, but the philosophies are a little different.

    Do you like technology and a quick pace? Choose PICU. Do you like interacting with your patients and families? Choose oncology. Kids in PICU are not very interactive for much of their stay; they're usually too ill to play or even be conscious of their surroundings. The pace on oncology is slower, but just as precise. Kids tend to stay relatively briefly in PICU and the relationships you develop with the family are different than those on oncology where the patients are often there for long periods and are readmitted frequently over the course of two or three years.

    Both areas have their own positives and negatives. The choice will come down to the type of care you want to provide.
    Thanks, i think ill pick oncology then.
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    You're welcome. I may join you!
  11. 0
    Me too!
  12. 0
    Thank you for this post. I am interested in the PICU/Pediatric Oncology too!


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