New Nurses and Chemo Outpatient Centers?

Specialties Oncology


Hi guys!

I am a current nursing student, and I am doing my current clinical rotation on an oncology floor. I have always been especially drawn to oncology for personal and family reasons, and I always thought I would want to work on an oncology floor. However the currently oncology floor I work on is more of a combination of onc/med surge, and it is not what I want to do. However after doing some shadowing and exploring, I think I would really enjoy working at an outpatient chemo center, and I could really see myself doing that. I was just wondering if any nurses out there who have experience with working outpatient chemo can give me some examples on what you may see working at this type of place/what you may do on a day-day basis? I was also wondering, as a new nurse fresh out of school can I work at a place like this, or will I need more hospital experience first?

I do not work in oncology, but one of my infusion nurses that I had when I was getting chemo last winter was a new grad. From what I saw, the nurses worked as a team. As patients showed up, somone always got vitals, and if the primary nurse was busy with another patient, another nurse would access ppl's ports or start thier PIVs. Everyone seemed to team up on patients. It looked like it can be super busy, but they were all wonderful. If the outpatient center requires previous experience though, working for a short time on onc/medsurg might help you. Good luck!

I think in the situation of having multiple seasoned nurses to mentor you along would work so that you may get experience in all the IV access, emergencies, adverse reactions, dealing with difficult situations, and ect. But, if the center only has 2 or 3 RNs they would not have enough time to properly mentor you because outpatient infusion is really fast paced. If that's the case I would ask to meet with the cancer center director and ask what would the best way to obtain enough experience to work in the infusion center. The fact that you would go to the "boss" and ask for advice shows maturity and real interest which would keep you in his or her sight. In the community hospital setting there is definitely not as much exposure inpatient to chemotherapy however, that is not to say there isn't enough or that a creative manager could arrange for exposure in the outpatient setting to gain more experience. Good Luck with you endeavors! Things will fall into place.

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