What makes a great oncology nurse?

  1. Hi all,

    I am new to nursing school and very interested in oncology. I understand that school and experience open your eyes to many different types of nursing and may lead you into a career path that you never thought of, so I don't have blinders on. However, I really am interested in oncology for several reasons. My parents, grandmother and former roommate are cancer survivors, I have lost two aunts and my grandfather to cancer, and a friend's young child is currently losing his battle with leukemia. All of this has inspired me to want to participate in oncology nursing. Additionally, I love the science of pathophysiology and pharmacology - I find it fascinating. I am a sensitive and compassionate person but I think I have a pretty tough constitution overall.

    I'm wondering what makes someone great at oncology nursing, and what makes someone emotionally tough enough to handle it. I would love any feedback you can give me. I am meeting with a professor next week to talk to her and hopefully gather some insight.

    Thank you!
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    About PaytonJane

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 27


  3. by   TXregisteredninja
    Well you don't have to be tough exactly, compassionate, yes. I work on a medical oncology unit and its tough, but so rewarding! You have to be able to deal with the families in their various stages of anticipatory grieving. There are very few success stories but you are able to touch lives in so many ways! Know what to watch for and how to advocate for your patient, be their biggest supporter and offer encouragement always. Know when to offer kind words and when to be silent. Comfort them when they are scared. All your patients will be "frequent flyers" so you get to know them, their spouses, and children. You get attached to the family members and they never forget you. It is a wonderful field