New Grad Starting in Oncology...Any Advice?


Hi everyone!

I am a new grad about to take my NCLEX. I was lucky to be offered a job in Oncology (Adult). Do you seasoned RNs have any advice? Is there anything that I should study up on or know particularly well? I am really excited to start.

Thank you


17 Posts

Specializes in Oncology (research). Has 8 years experience.

Hello, I have been in Oncology for 7 years and I have worked as a floor nurse, outpatient large cancer center, community cancer center and private physician cancer center. I love it all. If you are going to be working on a Oncology floor then be ready to give lots of blood. Most chemotherapy can be given in outpatient locations, but highly toxic and bone marrow transplant patients usually receive chemotherapy in the hospital.

For any new graduate, just remember to give yourself time to learn. I chose my first job at UCLA because the nurse manager told me that I wouldn't really feel comfortable until a year and then wouldn't really get it until 2 years. Of course, I didn't understand because many facilities only give you 2-8 weeks orientation. I was told I would get a minimum of 12 (no shortcuts) and could get an additional 4 if I needed, plus I attended a new grad class once a month for a year. I received the 12 weeks of orientation and then I constantly asked questions because my first job was on a liver transplant floor and had very specific drug, labs, and tasks. I was lucky and had many coworkers who liked the fact that I wasn't afraid to ask questions, and readily could admit was I didn't know or understand.

Usually oncology floors have good orientation because the role involves chemotherapy and lots of immune suppressed patients. The best thing that worked for me was for me to know what I didn't know and not be afraid to ask or research until I fully understood. If you find a nurse who you feel is very knowledgeable and provide great care (doesn't have to be your preceptor) then ask them if they would be willing to be your mentor after your orientation (if its not your preceptor that you ask). Best of luck to you.


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I always encourage people who are going to start working in oncology to join the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Oncology Nursing Society. You will get discounts on CEUs, opportunities to go to conferences, discounted rates on publications, etc. They have a course you can take to prepare to take the chemo provider exam. If you want to become oncology certified (OCN) you will get a discount on the exam. There is also a comprehensive online review you can do to prepare for the exam.

For me it's worth the membership fee (~$90.00)


10 Posts

Congrats on this awesome opportunity! I too am a new graduate and will be starting in oncology ;-)

Thank you for making this post....I have so many questions and am really looking foward to learning.

I too will have 12 weeks orientation with the addition of being part of a new graduate residency program at my hospital.

Best of luck!!!


9 Posts

Specializes in Oncology.

Thank you so much, everybody, for the replies! I will definitely join the ONS :) I'm looking forward to orientation now. It sounds like oncology is challenging and rewarding


746 Posts

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown. Has 6 years experience.

How are you adjusting? I will be starting on a telemetry/oncology floor in a couple weeks. I worked there for a year already as an extern so I am somewhat familiar with this patient population. Anything you wish you reviewed ahead of time? One of our charge nurses told me to go to the beach when I asked if I should do anything to prepare haha. I'm still nervous though!


5 Posts

Hi every one. I am a new grad and have an interview for medsurge oncology tele coming up. Can anyone help me with the questions that might be ask? Thank you


22 Posts

New grad starting Oncology in a couple weeks any new advice since being on the unit?