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NICU Nurse Switching to Oncology

Oncology   (640 Views 17 Comments)
by luvjacqueline luvjacqueline (Member)

604 Visitors; 19 Posts

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Hi everyone, I have 1 year experience in the NICU out of nursing school and after 4 months of looking for jobs, I have an offer at a small oncology clinic (most RN positions want 2 years experience which is why I have been finding it hard to find jobs). There are 2 nurses on staff and 1 is leaving for a new job while the other is looking to retire soon. My dilemma is that I would want to rely on the one who is retiring to train me since I don't know anything about cancer patients, but she plans on leaving as late as June. Plus, since this isn't a hospital that has straightforward policies and rules, I would find it difficult to make sure I am protecting my license. This is a clinic setting, very relaxed, mostly paperwork and hooking them up to their medicinal treatments. I am having a hard time on making my decision to work there or not. Any insight from oncology nurses would be much appreciated. Thank you! 

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Nurselauram11 has 1 years experience.

19 Visitors; 1 Post

This is not an ideal situation for a new nurse to learn oncology patients!   There is so much To know. ONS is a great resource for learning and taking care of the oncology population. There is a book I purchased for my OCN review, Cancer Basics. It’s a great resource for everything oncology! 

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1,680 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,004 Visitors; 2,525 Posts

On 1/25/2019 at 7:01 PM, luvjacqueline said:

 Plus, since this isn't a hospital that has straightforward policies and rules, I would find it difficult to make sure I am protecting my license. This is a clinic setting, very relaxed, mostly paperwork and hooking them up to their medicinal treatments.

Excuse me but WHAT?!!!  Chemotherapy isn’t some random “medicinal treatment”.  These are potentially dangerous drugs with many side effects and complications and you’re worried about your license? What about the patients? My facility, and most like it, require an intense class to become chemo certified before you can even touch a patient. This isn’t a teach yourself as you go kind of situation especially with no significant back up.  Maybe you didn’t mean to come off so blasé about oncology but I think you should reconsider. 

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604 Visitors; 19 Posts

This is a small outpatient oncology clinic. They told me I need to be chemo certified but I read somewhere that I need a certain amount of hours of oncology nursing before I am eligible to take the test. Can someone please explain to me what proper certifications and things I need to be asking this facility before I start work? They are expecting me to hit the ground running with the supervision of one other nurse but I have no experience with oncology at all and have only worked in a hospital setting for one year in the NICU. I am a new nurse and I don't know if this setup is safe for me. Should there be a traditional training program before I start? Because the only training I will get is on the job with the other nurse. 

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1,680 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,004 Visitors; 2,525 Posts

This set-up isn’t safe for you or the patients. You need a prescribed orientation that includes didactic and clinical. I wouldn’t  accept anything less than 12 weeks...minimum. Like I said this isn’t a self-taught, learn as you go kind of job. We don’t even hire nurses with your minimal experience. I’m an old NICU nurse. My guess is you’re still only caring for feeder/growers, bubble c-pap, HFNC and maybe a stable intubated kiddo here and there. Your experience won’t carry over. Trust me. If outpatient oncology is your end goal get a job on an in-patient oncology floor, gain some experience and then look for a clinic job. I don’t mean to pee in your Wheaties, I really don’t, but this is a recipe for disaster. 

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604 Visitors; 19 Posts

Ok, I am going to look at my other options. This set up made me very nervous. I have been having trouble looking for RN jobs as of late. What kinds of jobs am I eligible to apply for with 1 year NICU experience? I need at least 2 years of acute hospital care to be considered for other jobs but I am too experienced to be considered a new grad. I feel like I'm applying for all the wrong places 

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1,680 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,004 Visitors; 2,525 Posts

Why don’t you just stay another year in the NICU?

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604 Visitors; 19 Posts

I left that job because night shift was hard on my health. I am willing to move to any other area of nursing 

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1,680 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,004 Visitors; 2,525 Posts

Oh dear. 2 years of progressive experience in NICU would have opened up some doors for you. One thing you are going to learn is to never quit a job until you have one lined up. It’s risky and makes you less desirable. Well, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. You may find it difficult to find a day shift job that’s suitable for your experience AND pays enough. Where have you applied?

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604 Visitors; 19 Posts

I still couldn't do another year of night shift. I applied to DaVita Dialysis and Fresenius Dialysis, and went through interviews but they liked candidates with 2 years experience and nurses who worked with adults. I'm willing to sacrifice pay for a day position and something local. With just 1 year experience, could I pursue a career outside of nursing? Finding a nursing job is difficult 

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1,680 Likes; 4 Followers; 17,004 Visitors; 2,525 Posts

5 minutes ago, luvjacqueline said:

 With just 1 year experience, could I pursue a career outside of nursing? Finding a nursing job is difficult 

You could but you’d be throwing your nursing career away. You think it’s hard to find a job with only one year of experience try getting back into nursing after being away for awhile. I have to ask how old are you? I don’t mean to be insulting but I don’t want to assume you are a kid. Definition of kid= less than 30.  My advice will actually be different depending on your stage of life. 

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604 Visitors; 19 Posts

I am 24 going on 25. I know that nursing is a very cutthroat job and I would rather make a career change while I'm young or to just stick it out and gain more nursing experience 

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