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GN on a Surgical Oncology Unit

Nurses   (292 Views | 4 Replies)
by KMGS17 KMGS17 (New) New Student

211 Profile Views; 5 Posts

I have been offered a position on a surgical oncology unit. From what I have been told this will be a mixture of oncology patients and med surg patients. I am a GN and I think the idea of being offered a job was thrilling. A family friend who is a retired CRNA said I shouldn't accept the position because of medications that oncology patients receive. The exposure wouldn't be worth the job.

I never even thought about this because I think the glitter of being offered a job was exciting.

I am sure there is some type of risk. Should I ask the unit manager about this? Does anyone have experience with this? Any thoughts and/or advice is appreciated.

Additionally, the unit seems to have good teamwork and organization which is important to me as a new grad (or really at anytime). I have found this out from a nurse who previously worked on this floor but followed a different dream.

Thank you in advance!

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 1,376 Posts; 8,163 Profile Views

CONGRATS on the offer!

There are risks involved with working on an Onc floor. Chemo and radiation exposure (depending on what your unit does). You will have special training in these measures as well as different PPE for chemo, and not sure how they do it now but we also had radiation monitors. While it is true that there is an additional risk I wouldn't be too worried unless you are pregnant or have other medical issues that would be affected (immunocompromised etc). As a new grad this unit will be difficult because of the steep learning curve but if you are up for the challenge it is doable, you will probably have to adjust your schedule to allow more time for classes etc also. Having a good team is essential so at least you are hearing good things in that dept.

I would ask the manager about the training (from the hospital) and also chemo certification from the ONS (do you need it, how long for you to obtain, do they cover any costs).

Also, just know that these patients can be extremely high acuity, and this type of unit can be very draining r/t emotional issues. From my experience most nurses do not last more than 10years (and that is about the max) because of this and also because they want to limit their own exposure to the chemo and/or radiation. Assuming this is true for you, it leaves you having to find a new specialty, find a position within Onc with a higher degree, or work out pt in an infusion clinic (but then you will still be exposed to chemo etc). There are of course many other options but just know that, in my experience, people don't stay in-pt Onc for very long so you many want to think about that now so you can continue your Ed (not sure where you are now), or at least keep that in the back of your mind.

Good luck and hope this works out well for you!!

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5 Posts; 211 Profile Views

Thank you for the response!

I did reach out to the manager. The awareness of the associated risk could be present but are just as present on any other med surg floor.

If chemo is needed, chemo nurses are called, unless it is a PO med. Then PPE is used.

She did mention there would be additional training during orientation.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,289 Posts; 30,101 Profile Views

Surgical oncology patients have more in common with other surgery patients than with the medical oncology patients getting chemotherapy.

You learn to manage post operative pain, deal with drains, wound care, reconstructive flaps, get people up and moving.

It is a busy floor in my hospital. Beds stay filled. You will learn lots.

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Daisy4RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 1,376 Posts; 8,163 Profile Views

On 3/30/2020 at 9:25 AM, KMGS17 said:

Thank you for the response!

I did reach out to the manager. The awareness of the associated risk could be present but are just as present on any other med surg floor.

If chemo is needed, chemo nurses are called, unless it is a PO med. Then PPE is used.

She did mention there would be additional training during orientation.

Sounds like it will work out well for you, good luck!

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