interest in pursuing outpatient oncology position

  1. hello, i am new to this site and am happy i found it!! i presently work in icu stepdown for 4 years. there is a position posted at my hospital for an outpatient oncology rn which i have an interest in pursuing. i have had a semester with hospice back in nursing school which i enjoyed, and i had intentions of going to hospice nursing after graduation. after some thought, i realized i would rather end my career in hospice nursing and took a position at icu stepdown. i have the opportunity to work with cancer patients on our unit and i realize i enjoy caring for them the most. this is the first posting of a nursing position in our hospital's new cancer center in two years and i find that encouraging. i would think that employee turnover is low and employees enjoy the position. i have read the job description provided by our hospital but it is very vague. i wonder if anyone working on outpatient oncology has any information regarding day to day activity, possible certification requirements, turnover rate, stress level, emotional factors or the risks of working around chemo and radiation for the employer. thanks in advance for your information.
  2. Visit shmilo profile page

    About shmilo

    Joined: Mar '02; Posts: 3
    rn-presently icu stepdown


  3. by   nightingale
    I can only comment on inpatient Oncology Nursing. I did this for a year and loved it. The doctors were (usually) the most compationate in the business, you often saw and treated the same patients over time and were able to develop a relationship, granted some were lost but there were many success stories, I enjoy paliative care, and it was challenging.

    I remember the certification requirements to be two years before you could test for the ONCC; check with someone who has done this though (for I have not).

    Good luck with any decsion you make.

  4. by   shmilo
    i appreciate your comments. i know i would like oncology nursing, but i am hesitant about the risks to myself of handling/administering chemo drugs to patients. i am having trouble finding any studies about risks to the nurse. i am sure it is relatively safe using the proper precautions but i can't help but worry. thanks so much for your response, take care.
  5. by   chorrell
    I have worked in oncology since 1980, both in-patient and outpt., and now as a NP. I have never found any other nursing as enjoyable and challenging. The Oncology Nursing Society has a wealth of information available, as well as the Oncology Nursing Certification Certification (; to sit for certification are: 10 CEU oncology related; 1000 oncology working hrs witrhin past 3 years; 1 year experience as a RN). If you take proper precautions as outlined by OSHA guidelines and follow the recommendations of the ONS, you should not worry, but be aware, of potential effects of chemo drugs - they are carcinogenic, as well! Turnover rates are usually low, but vary widely, due to supportive work environment, patient load, etc...same as any nursing unit. The stress level is not unlike other nursing, but your peers are close and offer support since they are in the same boat. The most difficult scenario usually centers around communication problems and lack of caring from one professional to another - sometimes the physicians make it hard.
  6. by   shmilo
    thanks for your input. i have spoke to the director of the cancer center at my hospital. they have been so helpful in providing information about oncology nursing. since they rarely hire inexperienced nurses in outpatient oncology i have decided to pursue a position on the medical oncology floor first. i have found oncology nurses to be so helpful and kind, i am looking forward to working with such caring individuals.