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Conflicted Career Choices


Specializes in Pediatric/Adult Oncology. Has 6 years experience.

Hi all,

Thanks for taking the time to read this if you've stumbled upon it. I am torn between two different facets of nursing with no idea which was I should go. 

I have two distinct passions, leadership (CNO wanting to change healthcare and bring value and appreciation back to nurses and redirecting the hospital mission to focus on the patient and truly focus as many parts of a hospital I.e budget, policy development et) and teaching, I love the idea of teaching new young nurses and orienting new hires to the world of nursing. Opposite of this I have a desire to work in research. I work in oncology right now and I LOVE IT. I love pediatric oncology but I am currently in adults due to the difficulty of finding a job in pediatrics where I am. Specific to pediatrics, the national budget for cancer research only gives 4% of funds to pediatric research and I want to work to change that by bringing more funds to pediatric oncology research while also helping develop and "update" the treatments that are available for pediatric cancers. 

So this is where my struggle lies, do I go the leadership/teaching route? I could work as a supervisor on an oncology unit and try to reform the patient experience on a specific unit for oncology patients. I could even teach oncology at a local college and teach new nurses all about oncology and bring attention to pediatric oncology that way. Or do I go the more research route and be part of a clinical research team in a research nurse role? I know I want it to be oncology specific, whether its on the unit, in leadership or research but I just don't know where to start or where to go. 

I'm more than willing o give more background because obviously this is just a 30,000 ft overview of my situation. I appreciate any advice at this point. I know ultimately its my choice but I'm wondering what I'm missing or things I'm not thinking about. I'd love any experiences from anyone in either role. 


Thanks for your time!


Has 3 years experience.

Hi DiscGolfNurse,

Full disclosure - I have never been in either role. Judging by what you wrote, it sounds like you will get more out of a manager role. If you teach, you may have one student out of a thousand who gives a hoot about oncology. Most students may just be taking the class to satisfy requirements. Research sounds exciting to me, but it won't give an immediate impact. It takes time to develop research and even more time for the research to trickle down. But in daily practice as a manager on an oncology unit, you would be inspiring nurses who already have some inclination towards loving oncology.