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OCN, Previous RPN (4 years), Recent RN. Would love to specialize in oncology nursing.... need guidance please!

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by BalochDae BalochDae (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

Hello everyone,

First off, I hope you are all staying safe and we will fight through this pandemic that has taken over our daily lives.

I am a new grad RN from Toronto, Canada... I'm planning on moving to Houston, TX soon since my husband is American and we plan on moving there due to his job...

I have 4 years experience as an RPN in the gynecology and orthopedic field. My recent placements have all been in medical-surgical fields, or general medicine (around 700 hours total), where a vast majority of my patients had multiple co-morbidities, including varies types of cancers, oncology patients, etc. I have ALWAYS wanted to do oncology nursing (in an infusion clinic, chemotherapy nurse, etc), however the opportunities have never really come up for me to work in this field...

I would love get into this aspect of nursing and would love some guidance please. I would like to take an oncology course and do the OCN.... my question is: would I be able to do the OCN with just my clinical placement experience, and clinical experience I will be having during my oncology courses? (I'm planning on doing it in Mohawk College).. Does anyone have a better program to do oncology courses with more clinical hours that they have completed in Ontario? On the OCN website, it does say:

A minimum of 2,000 hours of adult oncology nursing practice within the four years (48 months) prior to application. Nursing practice may be in clinical practice, nursing administration, education, research or consultation. To qualify as nursing practice, the role must require it be filled only by a Registered Nurse.

Would me working as an RN in a different field also be counted towards this? I really would love to specialize and work in this area, and hoping that I can recieve some positive feedback, and stories that you all have to share.

Thank you!

D

BalochDae

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

Bump

2000 hours is roughly one year of full time nursing. Your clinical hours as a student will not count and neither will any hours working as an RN in another specialty. Right now just focus on your education. The certs can come later.

BalochDae

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you @Wuzzie. Would it matter what field of nursing I’m in for my 2000 hours? It’s hard to get into oncology with just my education/certifications with minimal placement hours.

I wish I could tell you differently but the rules are hard and fast. It must be 2000 hours as an RN in some form of oncology. It can be at an infusion center, an oncology clinic or at the bedside but It cannot be anything else. I’m sorry if this is disappointing to you but the whole purpose of certification is to demonstrate you are an expert in a specialty area. You cannot be an expert at something without actual experience in it.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

What you can do is earn your provider certificate offered by OCN. It's not certification as in demonstrating expertise, it's a certificate earned after a course of study and an exam that prepares you to administer chemotherapy.

It's the ONS/ONCC Chemptherapy/Immunotherapy Certificate Course

You will learn a lot and be more marketable 🙂

BalochDae

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you! I had no idea I could do this.. gives me some hope that I can one day specialize in this.

Edited by BalochDae
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poko, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community/ Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

Hey there.

New Hamilton area RPN to RN recent bridger here myself!

have you heard deSouza? It’s been recommended to me many times through work colleagues and they offer oncology certification

I work have worked in community for 5 years as an RPN and just starting my RN role. I’m also very interested in working in oncology one day too!

https://www.desouzainstitute.com/

20 minutes ago, poko said:

have you heard deSouza? It’s been recommended to me many times through work colleagues and they offer oncology certification

They have an excellent selection of courses for sure but the OCN is different.

BalochDae

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

@poko Hey Poko!

CONGRATS!! Which unit do you work in and which site!? I currently work at the Juravinski hospital on Orthopedic surgery 🙂

poko, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community/ Home Health. Has 6 years experience.

On 4/16/2020 at 1:23 PM, BalochDae said:

@poko Hey Poko!

CONGRATS!! Which unit do you work in and which site!? I currently work at the Juravinski hospital on Orthopedic surgery 🙂

Hey there, I work at two different home care agencies in Hamilton and Norfolk County 🙂

Hey BalochDae, I am wondering why you like Oncology? Why Oncology?

BalochDae

Specializes in Gynecology. Has 5 years experience.

Hey @Bibih. It's just a personal preference. I've lost more than half my family members to cancer, and would love to specialize in oncology to help others, and family members through difficult times.

OncologyCat, BSN, RN

Specializes in Medical Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant. Has 4 years experience.

On 4/14/2020 at 8:35 PM, Wuzzie said:

I wish I could tell you differently but the rules are hard and fast. It must be 2000 hours as an RN in some form of oncology. It can be at an infusion center, an oncology clinic or at the bedside but It cannot be anything else. I’m sorry if this is disappointing to you but the whole purpose of certification is to demonstrate you are an expert in a specialty area. You cannot be an expert at something without actual experience in it.

Agree! I got my OCN earlier this year and I personally didn’t think it was that hard. However, I did fall back A LOT on my experiences in inpatient onc when I was going through the questions. You can read all the books you want but it won’t stick unless you have hands-on experience and repetition.

Also, when you complete your application to sit for the OCN, it will ask you to specify which nursing role you take and setting in which you practice. I believe they also ask you for the percentage of oncology pts you take care of during a shift (or sth along those lines), so yes, you have to have onc experience.

Edited by OncologyCat