New Grad-Oncology/BMT Floor


Hi, I hope someone will be willing to give me some insight on what to expect when I start my first job as a GN on an oncology floor. I am very excited but nervous and scared at the same time. I had an internship after my senior clinical both in the ED so haven't been on a floor in a year and that was for clinicals. I don't even know what questions to ask but any insight would be wonderful. Thanks in advance :confused:


6 Posts

Specializes in oncology department.


I am a new grad as well and am beginning my career in oncology next Monday. I don't have much advice but would love to keep in touch as we both begin this journey. When do you start? I worked my department as a student since January. I love the staff and can't wait to start. It seems like such a long time since I was on the floor but it has only been about a month. I take my NCLEX on the 24th:no: I am going a little crazy but very excited to finally start doing what my training has been aiming at.


Specializes in Oncology, Emergency Department.

Hi, I begin on Monday the 16th as well and am very nervous. I did not work on this floor previously during school, rather I had an externship in the ED at one of the associated hospitals within their network. I too am extremely nervous about the NCLEX and I take mine in early July and am wondering is that enough time. I graduated on May 17 and started studying about a week later. Did you take Kaplan? If not what resources are you using to study for the test? My school offered Kaplan free so I did take the classroom portion and the online question trainers and Q-Bank questions. I'm not entirely sure how to interpret my scores. I'm averaging somewhere between 58-69 on both q-trainers 1-5 and q-bank questions. I guess it's hard to know when one is ready to test and I don't want to put it off, but I also want to be ready and confident going into the exam. Would love to hear your opinions and your strategies for studying.

Keep in touch and good luck starting your new job Monday...we can compare notes LOL.



6 Posts

Specializes in oncology department.

Good morning,

It is so great to hear from someone going through the same things!! I am really not too nervous about actually starting my position because of my past experience there. The staff is really awesome. I was inspired to go to nursing school by my Godson's death from brain cancer so oncology has always had a special place in my heart. I find that the patients really touch my heart and even if I go home and have a good cry -- at the end of the day I feel like I'm really helping people. I have found that most cancer patients have fairly complicated diagnoses and that my research before getting on the floor is invaluable. Even though I am not certified to administer chemo - alot of my patients are receiving it during my care so I have a notebook with the common chemotherapy drugs and their side effects. We had to be able to take a full patient load like the nurses we worked with so I have experience handling four patients during my shift. I am only going to be starting with one or two patients on the floor so that is why I'm not too nervous. If you have any questions regarding (what little I know about the floor) please let me know. It must have been exciting working in the ED! I only had a two day clinical rotation "spin out" but those nurses have got it going on! The fast pace and critical patient load - you must have gotten some great experience. I'd love to hear more about it. As far as the NCLEX goes - I am doing the Kaplan online question bank, Lippincotts Review for NCLEX and Saunders. The Kaplan online question bank is shaking my confidence though... my average for the questions is 70%. I am trying to focus my studying on reviewing the subjects that we did in my earlier semesters (peds, ob and psych) while keeping up on my medsurg which I feel really comfortable with. It just seems like a mountain of information. I figure that I'll just keep going over the questions and books until I soak up as much as I can. I had a pretty good average in my ADN program so I try to keep that in mind. It is just so intimidating to take a test with so few questions to sum up so many years of studying. Boy- I can of went on a little bit...guess you can tell I've been couped up in this house studying too long! Hope you have a good morning!


4 Posts

Boy, was I happy to see a few new GN's that are starting on Oncology too. I am working in Scranton Pa, and just graduated last month. I too am planning on taking state boards if my authorization to test ever comes... I have started on the floor and I look like a "deer in headlights" all the time. So much to learn and it is for sure a fast pace moving floor. I would love to keep in touch with you both and see how it is going for the both of you.

Let me know how you are both coping with everything you have to learn.



2 Posts

Hi everyone, I'm a new nurse starting in the Oncology Department July 7th. I just took my boards Thursday (and passed...phew!) so I know how you are all feeling! I prepared for them by doing 50-100 questions per night from both my books and the CD's that came with them. I would definitely encourage you to get used to doing some questions on the computer. Get to where you feel comfortable with the dreaded "select all that apply". I got about 30 (out of 75) of them! I took the approach with the SATA that if I wanted to select it but I was unsure, I didn't. There were three questions that I only picked one answer! Best of luck to all of you, please keep me updated on how it goes...and your new oncology jobs!


16 Posts

Ok, so I just got hired on an Oncology floor today! I'm a new grad too! I'm glad ya'll are there w/ me. I'll def. be back her to ask PLENTY of questions. Good luck you guys!


258 Posts

Specializes in Chiropractic assistant, CNA in LTC, RN.

Hi Everyone,

I'm seriously considering applying for an oncology position as well, after swearing that is the ONE area I would never want to work in. I have wanted to be an RN for 15+ years and always thought it would be L and D or mother baby. Once I started nursing school I saw so many different areas of nursing that I couldn't decide where I wanted to work. I had pretty much decided on either day surgery (I did a 156 hour preceptorship there) or the ED but the other day I was browsing the online ads for a local hospital and saw a position that really appealed to me. It is on the blood and marrow transplant floor. You only have 2 to 3 patients per nurse, which appeals greatly to me because I like to spend time with my patients, not just medicate them and run back out the door on to the next patient like so many of our med-surg units require us to do. The ad also said "caring and compassionate nurse needed" and compassion is something I have tons of. I want to work in an area where compassion and empathy will be truly appreciated. I really didn't think I could deal with oncology because I hate dealing with death and dying but I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and dealt with death a great deal. I handled it way better than I ever thought I would and I know I made a positive difference in my patients lives. I'm still muddling this over but I'm going to decide whether or not to schedule and interview in the next few days.

For those of you who have taken jobs in oncology, how did you know that was the place for you?

PS I graduated in May and plan to take the NCLEX in August.


50 Posts

Specializes in Oncology.

I got hired on oncology as new grad last week and will start my orientation July 14. I took my boards today and waiting on my results.


4 Posts


In response to the other posts of people wondering how did ya know this was the place for you??? I just knew it was either oncology or hospice. I am now on the floor for 3 1/2 weeks up to 4 pts now... Doing blood draws from port a cath's, I have the flushing down to a science now and I just accessed my very first port a cath today..... :). I just love the patients and I love being on the floor. Once you get the routine down you will be fine. I was not sure at first if I was gonna be able to handle it all but now that I know my way around things it is great.

Best of luck to everyone else who is starting. I think once you get the hang of it you too, will love it!!!!!!!

In the next several weeks the new GN's are going to get Chemo certified, so I know that we will once again have the deer in the headlight look.

Please keep in touch with us. Let us know how you are all doing. I am getting nervous since I am taking state boards in 3 weeks. I will let you all know how I do!!!!!

Hugs to you all, we really did pick a great area of nursing.....

Specializes in Oncology, Emergency Department.

Just an update from me who originally started this thread. I had been since June 16th and was up to 3-4 patients and things were really starting to make sense and I wasn't scared to death like I was in the beginning when I took my boards this week and failed....I cannot tell you how devastated I am. I of course feel like I'm the only one that has failed and it is even more difficult when other people from my graduating class pass (although I want them all to pass).

I think I took my test too early due to my nursing program emphasizing to us to take it ASAP. Problem now is, I am no longer a GN, had to send my license back to the State and could only work as a nurse tech but needed to be a CNA in order to do that which I am not. Lucky for me, my nurse manager asked me to take a personal leave of absence because she did not want me to leave the floor. I decided to do that even though it will be tough financially but it would be tougher if I don't pass the second time.

I wish you all the best of luck on the floor. Have any others taken their boards yet? If so, would you mind sharing your experiences (of course not verbatim questions or anything like that) just what types of questions you had on your exams.


1 Post

Specializes in Oncology, Med-Surg. Has 2 years experience.

Hello to all and let me start by saying it is so nice to see so many of you going straight into Oncology!! You will never regret the impact that you will have on both your patients and their families. Upon graduation of nursing school, I oriented with an Oncology charge nurse. I opted for my year of Med/Surg first before transferring to Oncology. I'm so glad I did it that way. I am now working as a charge nurse on the Oncology unit and I love it. Oh, by the way, I graduated school in Dec of '06

As far as what to expect with working in this area, here are just a few but every unit in every hospital is different:

- Fast-paced, the patients' conditions can and will change quickly.

- You will find the utmost appreciation from both patients and their families for all that you do.

- Emotions, this is probably the hardest part with some of the patients due to the fact that some of them are here for an extended amount of time and you can't help but get to know their families on a personal level so when you lose one of them, it is hard but just tell yourself, their battle is over, no more side effects, no more fatigue, treatment, testing.

I hope you all find oncology as enjoyable and exciting as I do. You will constantly learn if you let yourself.


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