New graduate - can I start my career at a cancer center?

  1. I'm in an ADN program, with a previous unrelated Bachelor's degree. I'm graduating in spring of '07. I am very interested in oncology nursing, as my dad is an oncologist and I find the field a fascinating one. There is a new cancer center breaking ground about a mile from my house that is affiliated with the hospital, but is a separate entity (outpatient). I would love to look into starting my career there, but wonder if would be possible as a new grad without working in a hospital at all. Any ideas or thoughts? Thanks!
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    About secondfiddle

    Joined: Jan '05; Posts: 45


  3. by   suzanne4
    It doesn't hurt to try, but I do not recommend it all. AS an RN in a cancer center, your skills are going to be needed to administer chemo, start IVs, etc. And these both are skills that do not develop overnight, but with some time. I highly recommend that you get a job in a hospital for a year, even on their oncology unit, so you get a better orientation to what will be your required skills for throughout your career.

    As we keep saying here, your training in school doesn't prepare you to go out on your own right away, but gives you the basic steps to go on with your career. Your real training is going to begin when you start your first full-time job with an appropriate orientation. There is just so much to learn. Don't sell yourself short and miss out on it.

    Just so that you are aware, any new facility, usually likes to hire with experience, so that they can open their doors quicker with a trained staff and not having to wait months for them to get thru orientation. With experience, they just require an orientation to the facility's procedures but not how to actually do things.:wink2:
  4. by   secondfiddle
    Thanks, Suzanne4 - that's exactly what I needed to know. I'll head to the hospital for my first year. Thanks for the advice!
    Last edit by secondfiddle on Jan 9, '06
  5. by   missy2b
    I agree. Outpatient is chaotic and takes split second decision-making and prioritizing. This ability, though crudely tested for on the ridiculous boards, is different in real life when four people are asking for you at once.

    Experienced RNs can fly with the autonomy, but it tends to make new grads sloppy and/or stressed out. Once you get the basics nailed down, go for it. Good luck!
  6. by   introspectiveRN
    This was exactly my same question. I too will be an ADN new grad in May of 07. During both of my preceptorships so far- I have gotten to work with cancer patients and was floored to discover that I loved it! I really enjoy the mixture of psych and med/surg that cancer care is...

    So good luck to you and thank you all for your wise advice!
  7. by   pca79
    I don't know whether you have found a job as of yet, but I have been in oncology for the last nine months right out of school. It is a 32 bed in patient unit. It is extremely demanding and busy job. I sometimes feel undereducated in this field, but that will happen anywhere. If you are up for it I say go for it.
  8. by   Central WI RN
    I worked on the medical floor for a couple of years first and was mandated to float to surgical, mental health, ambulatory surgery during that time. It gave me a good background for the cancer center and I have come to my job with knowledge the cancer center RN's do not have about a few things and was able to contribute to pt care in that way. I would suggest all nurses start off on a medical/surgical floor first, at least for a year or so.

    Good luck and God Bless!

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