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New to Oncology / First Inpatient Job

by brownm27 brownm27 (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Pediatric Home Health. Has 5 years experience.

Hi all, 

Just accepted my first position inpatient after working in Pediatric Home Care for 4 years.  The position is on a med/surg oncology unit (more medical) and I start in
October.  This is a whole new world for me (switching from peds home care to adult inpatient oncology) and though very excited, I am also super nervous.  I went into nursing to pursue oncology after my dad lost his fight at a young age, so to be offered this position is an honor and one I cannot wait to start.  Any advice would be great on what to expect and what I could read up on to prepare myself.  Also, any materials I could use during my orientation phase to help me better navigate and organize my patient load as now I am going from 1:1 to 1:4. 😊


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

This British documentary from the well-respected Panorama series is extremely well done, gives an insight into some of the newer treatments and some patient perspectives.


I'd say you've started in the right place since there are some excellent, informative threads in this very section.

Don't stress trying to know everything before you start as you'll learn on the job, however if you're not familair with chemo, port-a-caths or PCA pumps I'd say read up a little on them beforehand just so you have an idea.

1:4 is a good ratio. These patients need time. You'll soon learn how to prioritise according to pain relief, chemo protocols etc. My golden rule is to prioritise the slow release morphines/oxycodones which are given twice a day. We do them at 8h and 20h and I find if you're on the dot with them you'll get less call bells for breakthrough pain later. If your anti-nausea meds are prescribed "as required" rather than part of a protocol then give them before meals or before chemo - you'll be less solicited afterwards. Verify your chemos and prepare your pre and post hydrations in advance and you won't be caught on the hop.

You've chosen a very rewarding speciality. Best of luck.

Edited by DavidFR