I want to work in Oncology! I have some ?'s...


  • Specializes in Medical/Surgical, L&D, Postpartum. Has 8 years experience.

Hi everyone! Sorry is this has been asked before but here goes...

I have always had a passion to work in Oncology. I know that it is a difficult area of nursing to work in but I find myself drawn to this area. Some of my most favorite patients have been my cancer patients. I find it rewarding to be able to care for them in their time of need. An appreciative patient makes all the stresses of the day worthwhile.

I am a new grad working in adult med/surg. I plan on staying in this specialty for at least 2 years before moving on. I want to work in an oncology unit. Is working in med/surg the best way to start if I want to eventually specialize in oncology? How do you like working in this specialty? What are the pros and cons? What do you like the most? I am also particularly drawn to pediatric oncology...do I need to have peds med/surg experience for this? Is there a possibility for an adult med/surg RN to work pediatric oncology? Thanks in advance for the replies!

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

I started right in the BMTU out of college. I love it there, and have no regrets. I thought I would lose some of my med/surg I learned in school, but really haven't as the oncology is just one aspect of the patient and they bring whatever medical problems they have besides that with them.

I love working in oncology, but we do lose a lot of our patients, which is hard. You really hit the nail on the head- they're awesome, inspiring people (for the most part).

I used to comfort myself by saying that for every patient that does poorly, there's another that does well. Now I'm finding that if I stay here long enough even the ones who initially did well will go downhill eventually. And that's hard.

Oncology is fascinating though- complex, unique, and dynamic. I'm learning a ton.

I had friends go onto our peds oncology unit right out of school. I've been floated there, and found it boring, actually.


3 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Medical, Ortho. Has 4 years experience.

I started out working on an Inpatient Oncology unit as a new grad and haven't regretted a day!!! I have been there 4rys and wouldn't trade it for the world. I agree w/ blondy... Oncology patient's are dynamic and challenging but very rewarding. I wouldn't worry about staying in Med/surg for the experience if a position is available in Onc. I would take it. Oncology pt's are med/surg pt's they just happen to have cancer also.

Good luck! I'm sure you won't be disappointed in your choice.


396 Posts

Specializes in Oncology, Med-Surg, Nursery. Has 8 years experience.

I started out in Oncology right out of school. I am leaving the area, but NOT because of the patients. If I could get in Oncology at a different facility, I would totally stay in the area.

The thing I love about it is that it is SO complex and you learn so many skills. You learn things that you might not see in any other area. You learn a lot about IVs, infection control, medications, etc. You get to know your patients and their family members, because sometimes they are there for quite a long while. You develop many relationships.

On the flip side, when you have cared for someone for months and months, every setback hurts you too. When the doctor tells them they have run out of treatment options and it is time to look at hospice, it hurts. It hurts to watch them decline, and it hurts to watch their family experience that process and loss too. It is often a very painful process to witness, but I can say I have learned something from each experience I have had. I have learned a lot about myself and life. I don't regret it for one second.

Best of luck to you, and if you know this is your passion, go for it!!!

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