Oncology Nursing

  1. Hello Everyone!
    I am a new grad RN. I just accepted an offer on an oncology/respiratory floor. I am pretty nervous simply because this is real. I am not a nursing student who can go back to my instructor or the nurse. I am going to be the nurse!!!!
    Anyways, after accepting the position I was really excited and told a few friends from my class and I was a little shocked by the reaction and honestly became a little freaked out! She told me not to have kids because of the exposure. This really concerned me simply because I am a young nurse that hasn't started a family yet. Any insight is greatly appreciated!!!!
  2. Visit Culli005 profile page

    About Culli005

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 77; Likes: 7


  3. by   SoldierNurse22
    The risk of miscarriage is increased in nurses who handle chemotherapy. In theory, if you follow protocols and protect yourself, you shouldn't have any issues. I had friends who got pregnant and had perfectly normal babies while we were working inpatient oncology.

    Risk of Miscarriage Is Increased for Nurses Handling Chemotherapy | ons connect
    Occupational exposures among nurses and risk of spontaneous abortion
  4. by   befair
    Congratulations and good luck.
    I have been a nurse for 34 years and am currently on my 7th year in an oncology unit.
    Usually I would advise a new nurse to put time in on a general medical/surgical floor to gain experience and get some confidence. However, I have seen many new grads to straight into a specialty and flourish.
    I truly believe that the most important aspect of a job is, who you work with, and secondly, who for.

    If you have a supportive group of co-workers, and a good orientation program, you should do fine. The nursing administration and co-workers SHOULD know that a new grad isn't a seasoned nurse and should not expect the same level of ability right off the bat. This is why Doctors have residency programs, its not expected of them either.

    Unfortunately, I have seen administrations care more about filling a position than matching the right job to the right applicant. Sometimes there just aren't enough applicants either. I say this because I have seen many new nurses blame and second guess themselves because they didn't receive the support and guidance they should have, nor the staffing.
    If you ever feel that way look at your situation before turning on yourself.

    Medicine is an every changing field, and NO ONE has all the answers, all the time.

    With that said, Oncology is a field that usually attracts very caring nurses so you should be in good hands.
    Look up what you don't know. You have no idea how great the internet is. I only had the PDR and Medical Dictionary.
    I also moonlight as a nursing instructor. One of my students bought a medium sized ringed address book and wrote all of her drugs in it alphabetically. She could add pages and customized to what she needed. I thought it was a clever idea.
    When I switched from doing 20 years in a PACU to the Cancer Center, I got an address book and wrote down all the drugs, protocols and other information that I needed to remember. At first, the nurses made fun of me, but now when people need to know something they come looking for my book first.
    We have since hired several very seasoned nurses (CCRN's) and guess what, they all have a book of their own. Oncology is a world of its own, it is rapidly changing and a lot to learn.

    As far as safety goes, if a nurse is pregnant, we don't let her handle chemo. We keep her in a desk position. Other facilities don't. Supposedly if you practice the ONS safety standards you should be fine.
    We once treated a young woman with very aggressive breast cancer who was 4 months pregnant at the time.
    She went on chemotherapy and delivered a beautiful healthy full term baby. Both are fine.
    I hope this helps.
    I really don't want to discourage you, I just want you have a positive experience and the knowledge to fend for yourself when you need to.
    Nursing is a wonderful profession full of wonderful people.
    Good luck.
    Barb, RN, BSN, CPAN, OCN
    PS : Your instructors are not gone. I have students who come
    back and ask for advice and support. I am always happy to respond.
  5. by   annaotis
    I worked in outpatient chemo my entire first pregnancy (of course I was not hanging the chemo, but doing everything else.) No problems at all, had a second child, no problems. Just take the necessary precautions per hospital protocol.
  6. by   Culli005
    Thank you all so very much!! I am very excited about starting in this specialty.

    Thank you so much for your response! I love the idea of an address book for information!! I wouldn't have ever thought about that. I am eager to learn little tricks to keep organized. Transitioning from a nursing student role to a new grad will be interesting, but it is the time and I really look forward to it!

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