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Infusion Tx and OCN


Specializes in Ped ED, PICU, PEDS, M/S. SD. Has 23 years experience.

So I have been a RN for over 20 years. I have worked in various floors to Pediatric Stem Cell 20 years ago, Peds ER level 1 trauma center, Nicu, PICU, Med Surg, LTACH most recent. 
 I was in a semi vs car accident and had to have 2 major surgery’s in the last 2 years Rotator Cuff and ACDF for C4-C7. I am thankful I had not had to work through all this Covid crap. 
  I am hoping to return back to nursing this Spring. I have been contemplating Outpatient IV infusion nurse for a while. Most drugs infused are Chemo, biological drugs, IVIG and such. 
I did work pediatric Stem Cell transplant for about a year 20 years ago. I am good at IV starts. I feel comfortable in accessing ports. I am aware of some ocn emergencies I would see in ER. 
  I am wanting to get an OCN certification in drug administration. While I am not working. Most jobs I see either want applicant to have it, or must have it in 6 months of hire date . However, when I go to the website it suggests I work in field 1 year before attempting test. Is this a must to take it? Is this something I can do now with all the time I have free? Since it has been a while since I worked, when I go back I want to show I still attemp to stay fresh in Nursing realm. I didn’t waste my free time. Any suggestions on what I should take?


Specializes in BMT. Has 10 years experience.

I think you’re confusing OCN certification and the ONS Chemotherapy & Biotherapy administration certification. The latter is akin to a competency certification: you take a class and pass an exam at the end that says you’re certified to administer these medications. Most infusion centers require this upon hire, and I’ve never worked at one that will allow non-chemo certified nurses to give these. There is no minimum level of experience to get this “chemo card”.

The OCN certification is certifying you as a clinical expert in this specialty, similar to CCRN, etc. It is designating a nurse as specialty certified. It requires a minimum hours of clinical experience in oncology to be eligible to sit for the exam, and requires continuing education and clinical hours to maintain. It earns you the letters “OCN” after your name. Many centers are requiring this or strongly encouraging specialty certification, especially hospital based clinics. 

I would clarify this with the hiring manager. Usually if you don’t have Chemo certification before hire they will compensate you to get it (similarly to BLS, etc). 

Dacatster, ADN

Specializes in Ped ED, PICU, PEDS, M/S. SD. Has 23 years experience.

Thanks I think you are right. I have been trying to look up where I would take the ONC Chemo and Biological. Just can't find info. As for contacting a hiring manager. Since I am not employed currently, I don't have one. Hence why I came her to ask. Thank you so much you did help me out.