New grad starting peds hem/onc, how to prepare? Book suggestions?


Hello lovely nurses!

Well, I'm a new grad nurse, as the title explains. I've been searching for a job for 6 months, and after being very patient, landed a position at a pediatric hospital on the hem/onc floor! It's my dream position, at my dream hospital. It was my last rotation in nursing school- I loved the staff and the patients.

However, that rotation was for my master's, and I was in the managerial role (I did an entry-level master's program, and recieved my bachelors and masters all in one go). I will be working as a floor nurse.

My senior capstone was also in pediatrics, but general med/surg, and that was about 1.5 years ago....

I have been working as a CNA in a pediatrics hospital, rotating to different units, and have spent some time in hem/onc. Obviously, I couldn't practice my nursing skills, but did pay attention and ask questions.

They will train me, it is a new grad position.

I was just hoping some of you had some suggestions as to materials I could read or go over that would help me prepare!

Anything would help, I just want to get back into it and be as ready as I can!

Thanks everyone!


792 Posts

Specializes in Hematology/Oncology. Has 3 years experience.

there is no true prep. Ask questions, feed off the more experienced nurse and the ones with knowledge. Some of the newer nurses that know the patho and what not have questions. If the fellow/attending are cool ask them why they do particular interventions for things. I probably harrass the fellow quite a bit because they are entering their specialty and they are excited about what they are doing.

OCN curriculum book, chemo biotherapy book.

Hematologic Malignancies in Adults: 9781935864264: Medicine & Health Science Books @

This is an awesome book. One of our NPs at my facility wrote it. Very easy to understand. is an awesome website to look over(for families) different chemo as they break it down for the patients without listing every horrible thing that can happen to them.

I will never take care of kids, let alone kids with cancer. I cannot rationalize why some of them may die and I dont have any tips to deal with that population.

My suggestion to dealing with hospital families, especially oncology is that no matter how much of a pain the family can be toward the nurse. They are just scared, they are out of control and want to care for their love one but they dont know what to do. They may lash out at you but keep your composure because you know they are scared, I have had families that were harsh apologize to me for lashing out.

We all die, we just dont know when. Whatever time that someone has, just make it as fun as possible.

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

See if the nurse educator (or whomever is in charge of training the new grad nurses) has a list of meds that are commonly found on your unit. It's kind of fun to start going through everything that they do med-wise, especially if your unit is doing immunotherapies like Unituxin or rituximab. Find out if they do Beads of Courage and familiarize yourself with the program (and, if they don't, maybe one day you can spearhead it's introduction to your unit!). Find out what kind of cancers you will be seeing a lot of. The unit I will be starting as a new grad (fingers crossed I get my ATT in time) primarily deals with solid tumor though we do get some liquid cancers thrown in the mix (for the most part they are on our bigger sister unit). I'm way more familiar, however, with brain, bone, liver, kidney, testicular, and lung cancer than I am with leukemia/lymphoma. Also, brush up on bone marrow transplant, sickle cell disease and hyperbillirubinema. I'm good friends with Medscape and you'll find it amazingly handy, too. :up:

Here is an A-Z list of medications commonly encountered in the hematology/oncology setting (there are a few immune modifiers on here but it's by no means exhaustive): A to Z List of Medicines - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Finally, start thinking about how you will prepare yourself for those spells when it seems like all the patients are dying and no one is finishing treatment in remission. What will you do for those times when you have a new diagnosis patient who, all hope and prayers aside, has a truly fatal prognosis and is such an awesome kid that their premature departure from this planet is a loss to us all? What are your resources? It gets unfathomably tough. I read I Wasn't Strong Like This When I Started Out before I started nursing school and, as I come up to the start of the residency program, I think it might warrant another read through.