Oncology CNA

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    I recently posted that I have an interview on an oncology floor as a CNA. I was curious to know some of the duties that these CNAs are responsible for. I've seen some things on Google, but I would really like to hear from individuals that are actually working on this floor as a CNA or Nurse.

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  2. 9 Comments...

  3. 0
    You could also post this under the nursing oncology section. There might be some nurses out there who can tell you what their CNA's do.
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    On our floor, the CNAs are responsible for taking patient's vital signs, recording intake and output, and toileting/feeding the patients...that is if CNAs are actually available to help.
    sj73201 likes this.
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    hahaha thanks. is that all they do or can they be involved in preparing pt for procedures and things like that?
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    I don't work on an oncology floor. but pretty much any floor all the CNA's do the same thing.
    Get patients up/dressed/baths/bathroom/Vitals/Record I&O/ambultate patients as many times as directed by RN or MD. sometimes RN will do this too/ the CNA's get patients ready for procedures within their scope of practice.
    For example...of patient is going down for MRI, the CNA will make sure foley's are empty, patient is dressed/cleaned, has a clean robe and gown, gets a cart or wheel chair ready etc. The nurse will do the MRI questionaire while the CNA is doing that.
    The CNA is responsible for all transportations in the hospital. Sometimes this requires taking a patient to the clinic, MRI, fluroscopy, Cardiac testing, GI, PT or OT, X-ray, CT, Ultrasound. So the CNA really has to know their way around the hospital.
    Our CNA's sometimes assist in procedures...We can do chest tube placements on the floor. Which requires the MD, the RN and the CNA to be there. MD and RN gown up, the MD does the proceudre and RN is there to assist MD and the CNA is responsible for getting things should we need anything. We are gowned up and sterile so if we need something opened up, or ran out of gauze or need tape, or whatever then the CNA is there to do that...because CNA is not gowened up, except for the mask.
    OUr CNA's are trained in Basic telemetry by the hospital. They can place telemetry patches and can read telemetry, so we have a CNA sit at the telemetry station 24/7 and notify RN if something needs attention. They don't know how to TREAT abnormal readings but know how to recognize one.

    So you will get trained in what that floor needs you to do. We don't expect our CNA's to know how to do all this when they come in, so they go through lots of orientation.
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    As a nurse who works oncology you do all of your main CNA functions and you have to be able to protect yourself with PPE.
    The patient who recieves chemotherapy are actively excreting chemo from the urine, feces and skin for 48 hours after administration.
    You must wear masks, eye goggles, gown and double gloves when changing the linen, and handing urine or feces. (any body fluids). This is to prevent you from getting the chemo drug into your body.
    There is a risk to your body of getting cancer from handling these drugs if you don't do it properly (Leukemias) in the future over long periods.

    Also they can become Neutropenic. Which means that extreme care must be taken when washing your hands (like with any patient you must use universal precautions). Their immune systems have been medically shut down with these drugs and are at the highest risk for infection. They also have to follow a prescribed diet.

    The patient who is recieving chemotherapy is a different demographic, with different psychosocial issues. I love working oncology. It can be very sad as well, with periods of real happiness.

    I respect that you are trying to see what you can do as a CNA to help these patients if you get a job on the floor. I wish you the best of luck!!!!
    Keep us posted!
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    thank you guys soooo much. when i applied, i don't even think i expected to get a call back! i was sooo excited!! it's all I've been thinking about since Monday, and my interview is this Wed. Do you have any advice or know of any questions that they may ask a CNA on an interview. i really want some exposure to cancer pts because this is like the only field in nursing in which i am genuinely curious and excited about. i would love to have this job and interacting with the people. i hope that i will be able to convey this in my interview. i think i am more nervous about not knowing the questions than i am about the actual patient interaction. again, thanks so much for your responses. feels great to hear from real ppl in the field
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    Im a PCA on the Hem/Onc floor at a childrens hospital so while it may be different than an adult facility I imagine many of the things that I do would be the same that you do. You have the normal PCA duties, vitals of course, but being a hem/onc PCA is different than working on a regular med/surg type of floor. Cancer changes a lot of things and therefore it changes a lot of things about the care. The best thing about being a Hem/Onc PCA is you really get to know your patients. The worst thing about being a Hem/Onc PCA is youreally get to know your patients. Because most of your patients will be on chemo or some other type of biotherapy they will be on chemo precautions which means certain things about dumping uring, changing linens etc. You have to be very vigilant with your vitals, these kids (and adults too) can go septic real quick (Im talking down the tube in 45 minutes). You'll need to be good at taking manual BPs even with hard to here pt's (after a couple rounds of chemo the arteries just arent what they used to be) be prepared to offer a lot of emotional support. Be prepared to be vigilant about your I/O records. Its especially important when people are on chemo because the nurses need to know whether or not the patient is retaining water, or if theyre in danger of throwing their electrolytes off balance. I do a lot of changing diapers at nighttime, can't let people sit in chemo pee. You also need to be very vigilant about your handwashing and PPE, these pts are prone to getting c-diff and youre going to be getting a lot of pt's N&F so you want to make sure that you're doing anythign to add anymore germs to their environment. At our hospital we take pts to xray/CT/MRI/PET scans, hold for NGtubes, procedures, sit in on LPs and BMA/BMB doing vitals, we transport blood and are responsible for noting subtle (but significant changes) in patients conditions and promptly reporting them to the nurses. I love my job, Ive even considered working in Hem/Onc as a nurse when I graduate. Its a tough unit to work on, people ask me why i would ever take a job there. I love it, I love my patients, and it hurts like heck when they get sicker and not better,and I do my fair share of crying on the terminal cases. But its immensely rewarding and I wouldnt trade it for the world.

    Good luck in your interview!
    on eagles wings likes this.
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    thanks so much! i believe my interview went VERY well & the nurse manager wants to extend me an offer, after she speaks with HR. i can't wait! i was soooo nervous! yet, i am sooooo freakin excited...if only i was excited about that research midterm on friday...blah
  11. 0
    hi everyone! i just wanted to update you!! i went to the hospital today to fill out new-hire paperwork..& orientation is April 4th.sooo excited and ready to learn


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