PLEASE give me a Radiation Oncology Nursing overview!

  1. Hello! I just got an interview for a radiation/oncology nursing position in rural town. I graduated in July and have been working on a med/neuro floor since. I'm job hunting because I want something just a little slower paced than the hospital. I really don't have any experience in radiation oncology, so PLEASE someone give me an overview of job duties? ANY info would be so wonderful!
  2. Visit shortsuzy87 profile page

    About shortsuzy87

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 131; Likes: 15
    Practice Specialty RN- Oncology/Hematology outpatient clinic; from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in Neurology- briefly, Oncology/Hematology


  3. by   iNurseUK
    Is this nursing inpatients? or an outpatients position?

    If inpatients radiotherapy can be quite busy and challenging. I work on a ward that does both chemotherapy and radiotherapy and the RT patients especially the head and neck ones can be hard work to nurse. RT reactions can be nasty with moist desquamation, RT burns and generalised swelling. We have a lot of patients with trachaeostomies and they need careful monitoring.

    RT can give other problems in oncology. Abdominal RT can cause a host of problems from generalised abdo pain to faecal incontinence, urinary problems and all sorts.
  4. by   shortsuzy87
    The position is at Patient's First Health Care. I don't think they do inpatient work at all. It's not a hospital. Thanks for the reply.
  5. by   shanna1369
    I work in an outpatient Oncology clinic (chemo and radiation). The duties are similar to any other nursing job; assessments,monitor labs, manage side effects, lots of education, nutrient, call in scripts, assist physician, assist radiation therapist, history taking, trache care and lots of documenting. In our clinic, I also draw labs, give fluids, and do skin and wound care. This a rural clinic with low staff, so I also help with chemotherapy (certified of course). We have a slow day now and then, but most days are steady. I had no radiation experience, but it is easy to learn. Good luck!
  6. by   shortsuzy87
    Shanna, thank you so much! That helps a lot. I want something where I'm busy and still utilize my nursing skills, but is just a tad less frantic than the hospital. I've floated to our med/oncology floor a couple of times and liked it. I found the patients inspiring rather than depressing.
  7. by   Sehille4774
    just wondering how your interview went. i am a new grad and i just did my first of two interviews for a rad/onc outpatient unit that is connected to a hospital. if someone codes or has an emergency where technical intervention is necessary, they just call a code blue or whatever and the emergency people (rapid response team) come deal with it. It seemed like a good position...i did alot of my clinicals on inpatient onc units and some time as an extern as well. I hope they give me a chance. i fugure..worst case scenario i hate it or i am not a good fit for the unit and then i quit after a month and get another job somewhere else. i will be with a preceptor so in the event that their was an emergency, that could help me handle the situation. I am pretty sharp on my assessment skills. I tend to catch things early, and i dont make many mistakes, no big ones. i am also willing to get any necessary education to catch up, on my own time and expense. I have a very strong foundation. I also love the psychosocial aspect, and i find joy in improving people's quality of life, and if possible, cheering them up, however major or minor those gains might be. I believe that a healthy mental state of mind and outlook during even a crisis like cancer can lead to better healthcare outcomes.

    If anyone has any advise, I would appreciate it. i was interview by a physicist. quite an adventure!
  8. by   shortsuzy87
    Hey! My first interview went very well. Everything fell into place so flawlessly. They even told me the pace would be slower than what I'm used to (the frantic pace is the reason I'm leaving the hospital), so I could explain to them a calmer pace is exactly what I'm looking for. I interviewed with the radiation therapist and an HR person. I have a second interview Monday with the physician I would be working with very closely. I'm nervous because I want this so badly and I have virtually no experience in radiation oncology. The psychosocial aspect is something that appeals to me as well, and during my interview they told me emotional support would be a large portion of my job. I get so close to the patients in the hospital after working 12 hour shifts, and regardless of where I choose to work, I need that connection with my patients. So, is your place outpatient? And how are the emergency situations involved again? So far I've been lucky with interviews. Every job I've gotten an interview with I was hired. I'm not bragging, just trying to be helpful. My best advice is to be honest and maybe study up a little on the subject in case they quiz you. My neuro job I have now asked me seizure and safety questions during my interview. You seem to have some experience in outpatient radiation/oncology? Any advice for me? They told me wound care, psychosocial, and patient advocacy are huge parts of the job. What else? Thanks! This site is so great!
  9. by   MissIt
    I went into radiation oncology after 9 months on an inpatient medical oncology floor for pretty much the same reasons you're doing it. I loved, loved, loved it!!!!!!! So much patient teaching and you really get to know the patients because they're there so often. It's totally different from inpatient nursing. A lot of it was symptom management too-- skin care, wounds, IV fluids, pain meds, nutritional support. The patients love their radiation oncology nurses, you really feel like you're making a difference in people's lives. Good luck!
  10. by   shortsuzy87
    Oh yay! Thank you so much! I had my second interview yesterday with the physician, oncology receptionist, and an HR person! INTIMIDATING! I think I did well though and I'll find out either way this week!
  11. by   cicatrixx15
    So did you get the job??
  12. by   shortsuzy87
    No, but apparently the physician loved me and wants me within the year when he expands the clinic. I'm honestly wanting to move on from my current job rather quickly.
  13. by   cicatrixx15
    That blows Are you going to try to wait it out or search for another job?
  14. by   shortsuzy87
    I'm searching, but plan on touching base with the HR person there once a month or so.