Preceptorship: Peds Med-Surg or Peds Onc

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    Hi everyone,

    I have a dilemna, and have been searching through the threads for answers to my question, but can't find anything exactly like my situation. I'm hoping to get some of your opinions!! Here is the situation: I currently work as a Unit Clerk at a large teaching hospital on the Pediatric Med-Surg floor. I will be changing to a CNA role in the next couple of months. I am graduating from nursing school in May, and am in the process of picking my preceptorship for the last semester. Here's the problem.

    I had already asked the Nurse Manager on the floor where I work if I could do my preceptorship on the floor. She said yes, and to just let her know when I submitted my name to the Education person. We were asked by our school to submit our preference of specialty and location. I went to talk to the teacher in charge of preceptorship placement, and she said that the school has a placement in Peds Oncology (at a Children's Hospital) that would be a great experience. She is willing to place me at my job, but thinks that doing the Peds Onc preceptorship will still look great for getting a job as an RN where I work. She said to check with my boss and see what she thinks.

    My dilemma is that I am wondering if it is better to do the Peds Med-Surg preceptorship at my job, or the Peds Onc preceptorship at the other hospital. With the way the economy is, I am guessing my only hope at getting a job is where I currently work. As far as my interests go, I would love to do Peds Onc as my interest in Onc was the main reason why I am going into nursing. However, I definitely need a job when I get out, and don't want to ruin my chances at work. Also, is it smarter to start off in Peds Med-Surg anyway?

    If you've read this far, thank you so much. Any and all opinions are much, much appreciated!! Thank you!!

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  2. 3 Comments...

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    It sounds like you have a good chance at getting a job on the peds med-surg floor anyway, since you work there currently and will be going a preceptorship in peds no matter what. If you would like to work in oncology, it might be a good idea to do your preceptorship there to get a feel for what oncology nursing is like and to make sure you will like it.

    In oncology, you'll obviously be giving a lot of chemo, blood transfusions, anti-nausea meds, and other meds to manage chemo side effects. Some of the kids will have other problems related to their cancer, such as ventricular drains, respiratory issues, surgical wounds, infection, colostomies etc. However, the main part of your experience will be related to chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Since you'll only be a student, you probably won't be able to do either of those things, but just observe the RN. But if you want to work on this floor after you graduate, doing this preceptorship will probably be your best shot.

    Peds med-surg would be the better choice for a well rounded clinical experience. You'll probably see a few children who have cancer, but they are more likely to be newly diagnosed. You'll see respiratory illnesses, post-operative surgeries, chronic illnesses, diabetes, acute injuries, siezures, the works. You'll care for patients with tracheostomies, G-tubes, possibly colostomies and chest tubes. I think this would be the better choice if you're looking for a place where you can work semi-independently and learn a variety of skills.
  4. 0
    this was a very hot topic in my nursing program: should i request a preceptorship in the area i want or in med surg for a "well rounded experience?" in my opinion, you mind as well go for what you want if you can get it! any experience is good experience, plus you mostly want to focus on your assessment skills which can be accomplished on any floor. Sounds like you have a really good connection to the med surg floor so taking your preceptorship elsewhere shouldn't hurt your chances of applying for a job on the med surg floor later on. Plus who knows, maybe you'll love the peds onc floor and maybe they'll have a position available after graduation! Best of luck with whatever you decide!!
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    Thank you for the responses! I will be doing my preceptorship where I work on the Peds Med-Surg floor. I really do think that Peds Onc would be mainly observational as mentioned above, so I do think that Med-Surg would be best. I also talked to several nurses at work who pointed out that it will help me to be more prepared if I get a job on the floor when I graduate. I really would like to specialize later on, but do believe that I should have the Med-Surg experience. I am not sure yet exactly what I would want to do in the future. I keep thinking that eventually critical care would be fascinating, so I would like to start off in Med-Surg for the experience. Thank you so much for your replies!!


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