I’ve been an Onc nurse for 13 years, the whole time I’ve been a nurse. I was lucky enough to have an Onc rotation as a student, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
The patients are incredibly acute, and I agree with the previous poster, you have to be on your toes. These patients can turn on a dime, seem fine one minute, and then quickly take a turn for the worse. You need to be excellent at recognizing early signs of infection and really advocating for further diagnostics if you feel it’s warranted.
Chemo can be overwhelming but you’re often doing the same few protocols and you become very familiar with the precautions/side effects for each drug. You usually don’t see the crazy adverse effects (like neurotoxicity) but a few times you do, and you never forget it.
I personally love end of life care, but it can be emotionally exhausting helping patients and families who are struggling with when to stop treatment, stop invasive interventions, and accept death. But when you’ve seen a patient suffering for weeks and they are made comfort care, and you get them all sorted, the family looks relieved, their pain is eased, It is truly rewarding.
Best wishes to you! It is not a boring specialty and you are constantly learning, but it can take a mental toll on you over time. When we have a series of young people with families die, I do ponder possibly pursuing something else.