Making the switch from Neuro/medsurg to Oncology - advice please


  • Specializes in neuro/med surg, acute rehab. Has 5 years experience.

Hello everyone,

I am doing something I never even considered before - working at an oncology hospital as a float nurse. I have zero experience in oncology. I have been a nurse for 4 years on Neuro/Med-surg/tele floors. I believe I have strong assessment skills and basic nursing skills, but my knowledge of cancer and cancer treatments is rudimentary at best.

Please - any advice on how to prepare for this job? Books to read? Things to review? Just so I go in with a base of knowledge to build on?

Also, could someone explain to me the different floors in an oncology hospital and what happens there?

Thank you. I am very excited about this new opportunity to learn and grow as a nurse!


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I would suggest joining ONS (Oncology Nursing Society). You will have a wealth of oncology information at your fingertips, CEU and after you've been working for a while if you want to become oncology certified (OCN) you will get a discount on the exam.

You could start off with the ONS Core Curriculum for Oncology Nursing. It reviews just about everything you would need; maybe you could review oncologic emergencies to start. Mosby's Oncology Nursing Advisor is a good basic guide.

Good luck!


87 Posts

Specializes in neuro/med surg, acute rehab. Has 5 years experience.

Thanks for the advice!