Where to start ? ONC

  1. Good afternoon,

    I have always had an interest in being an oncology nurse. That being said, I would like some input for how to get my foot- in -the- door. I want to start the transition from med/surg to oncology nursing and would appreciate some advice. I have been a new grad nurse for about four months on med/surg/tele/dka floor. I would like to stay here at least a year and maybe take the ONC in the mean time? Don't know where to start looking for study material, etc. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
  2. Visit RNewbieMA profile page

    About RNewbieMA

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 9; Likes: 2
    from MA , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    13 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from RNewbieMA
    Good afternoon,

    I have always had an interest in being an oncology nurse. That being said, I would like some input for how to get my foot- in -the- door. I want to start the transition from med/surg to oncology nursing and would appreciate some advice. I have been a new grad nurse for about four months on med/surg/tele/dka floor. I would like to stay here at least a year and maybe take the ONC in the mean time? Don't know where to start looking for study material, etc. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
    At four months in, you should be concentrating on becoming competent in the job you HAVE. You'll need to be studying meds, pathophysiology, treatment alternatives, etc. at home in your spare time just to be a competent Med/Surg nurse. I'm not sure where you'd find the time to study for oncology, without neglecting studying for your current position. After a year on Med/Surg, possibly longer, you can start planning to study for another specialty.
  4. by   RNewbieMA
    Oh please tell me how I'm not competent in my job now ? I just don't understand how asking advice for down the road makes me a neglectful, incompetent med/surg nurse? This site is a joke because of people like you. I was simply asking for steps to take the ONC exam. You can always look to the future without "neglecting" your current position. Do me a favor, just don't comment on my posts next time, I don't like negative keyboard hero's. Thanks, next!
  5. by   RNewbieMA
    Oh btw learn to read because I literally said in my post I would like to stay a year? Smh, so sick of people like you
  6. by   Buckeye.nurse
    Medical-nursing knowledge is a great foundation for any specialty...including oncology. Ruby Vee's advice was sound. Focus on understanding the pharmacology, pathophysiology, and treatment of the conditions you treat on your floor this year. Then you will have a solid foundation to build on in the future.

    At any rate, I'm assuming by ONC you meant oncology nursing certification? To qualify to sit for that exam you must have a minimum of 1000 hours *oncology* nursing practice in the past 2.5 years. That would be an appropriate goal once you have worked on an oncology floor for 2-3 years.
  7. by   RNewbieMA
    No the tone that Ruby Vee was unnecessary and it's actually slander saying I'm "neglecting" my patients. We are all on the same page that I need to get experience somewhere first ?? I am focused and committed to my career now, but let's be perfectly clear. I am a registered nurse just like you two. I came to a website that you are suppose to feel comfortable coming on to ask questions and or advice. There is nothing on this site that helps me. Has anyone ever heard of new grads getting oncology jobs with no experience?? I have ! Again, I am just asking for advice for down the road ... whenever that may be. I didn't wake up and decide I have all the answers. Shame on me for coming on here, I should've just googled it.
  8. by   AAOnc22
    Don't worry about those two,
    It really is shameful to act in such a way to a nurse who is just looking for some advice. We all need help/advice/guidance at some point and I think it's great that you are thinking about your future as a nurse. It doesn't mean you are neglecting your job now. It just means that you want to know if you need to take steps now for the job you want in the future. It's respectable.

    As far at the OCN certification...it is true that you need oncology experience. I believe it is 1000 hours and at least 1 year on an oncology floor. And you need a certain number of CEU's...but when I took the OCN exam, my chemo certification credit hours counted for this...which you will likely have to complete as well when you start on an oncology floor.

    working in med/surg/tele is great experience and you shouldn't have too much difficulty making your way to an oncology floor when you are ready. I went into heme/BMT as a new grad, so there are definitely units out there that are willing to teach you the ropes of oncology nursing!
  9. by   RNewbieMA
    @AAOnc22 -Thank you very much for the kind words, I appreciate the advice.
  10. by   Wuzzie
    RubyVee wasn't calling you incompetent. She was using the term in relation to Patricia Benner's "Novice to Expert" theory which is really one of the best nursing theories I've come across.

    Patricia Benner Novice to Expert - Nursing Theory

    I think it very well describes the growth a new nurse undergoes and you'll see she uses the term "competent" to describe a certain stage of your nursing progress. It's great that you have shown an interest in oncology nursing and that certainly is a wonderful goal to shoot for. Sometimes med-surg doesn't seem so interesting but there is so much to learn in that specialty that will help you form a strong base from which to build on your knowledge. This will allow you to see the "big picture" when you are taking care of oncology patients as they often have co-morbidities that complicate their care. Everything you learn about med-surg nursing can be applied to oncology nursing.

    That being said you can certainly start learning about oncology just don't let it stop you from seeking to become an expert where you are now. That expertise will make you more marketable when you start looking for a position on an oncology floor. As far as the OCN, as previously stated, the requirement is 1000 hours in direct care of oncology patients. You need this experience to help put the puzzle pieces together.
  11. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from RNewbieMA
    Oh please tell me how I'm not competent in my job now ? I just don't understand how asking advice for down the road makes me a neglectful, incompetent med/surg nurse? This site is a joke because of people like you. I was simply asking for steps to take the ONC exam. You can always look to the future without "neglecting" your current position. Do me a favor, just don't comment on my posts next time, I don't like negative keyboard hero's. Thanks, next!
    Quote from RNewbieMA
    Oh btw learn to read because I literally said in my post I would like to stay a year? Smh, so sick of people like you
    At four months in, no one is competent. I wasn't. None of my peers were despite what I thought at the time. None of my orientees were, and none of the colleagues of worked with since. It is generally agreed that it takes approximately a year to become comfortable as a new nurse, and approximately two years to become competent. Your best course of action NOW is to concentrate on understanding the pathophysiology, disease processes, treatments, lab values, test results and drugs of each and every one of your current patients and understand how they relate. Understanding Med/Surg thoroughly is a good foundation for every other specialty there is, including oncology. That was my path: Med/Surg to oncology to hematology.

    You may be very different from me; I get that. But when you ask a question on a public forum, you get the answers you get. You would do well to assume that anyone who answers your question is taking the time to do so because they genuinely want to help and they know something that you don't. Being deliberately nasty to someone who took time out of their busy day to try to answer a question in a way that is helpful to you is unkind. It's not a good look on a nurse. You may disagree with my answer, and perhaps my tone wasn't to your liking, but I didn't go out of my way to insult you. I was matter of fact. There's a difference. I hope you learn something from this thread, but it is more likely that other newbies who have the same question will learn instead. And that's OK too.
  12. by   RNewbieMA
    Oh so your looking for a thank you ? You took time to not answer my question, but tell me what you think I should be doing instead. You did not read my original post. I never said I was studying for any test, but simply wanted to throw a question out there for the future. So matter of fact, after a year at the job you have now you can start looking. There is nothing helpful about that post. I can take direction, but not when I am asking a very simple question. You were nasty and I replied with nastiness, you are right. We are all busy, we all have our own lives and stories and they are all different. My life is busy too and I asked a simple question, that you didn't even answer.
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from RNewbieMA
    Oh so your looking for a thank you ? You took time to not answer my question, but tell me what you think I should be doing instead. You did not read my original post. I never said I was studying for any test, but simply wanted to throw a question out there for the future. So matter of fact, after a year at the job you have now you can start looking. There is nothing helpful about that post. I can take direction, but not when I am asking a very simple question. You were nasty and I replied with nastiness, you are right. We are all busy, we all have our own lives and stories and they are all different. My life is busy too and I asked a simple question, that you didn't even answer.
    No, I am not expecting a thank you or even civility. I would only expect classy behavior from someone who was, actually, a classy person. I think I'm pretty clear on what to expect from you. Any "nastiness" on my part was unintentional, but you've just confirmed that the nastiness on your part was intentional. I merely clarified so that other newbies with the same question might learn something.
  14. by   RNewbieMA
    You have yet to answer the question though ? I actually am classy. But just keep on pretending you know me over the internet.

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