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  1. dreavt

    Portland oncology nursing?

    Thank you! This is very helpful! I have found a couple of programs that I think I could do in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of money. Now just need to decide if I definitely want to get my BSN first, or try to get a job *without* my BSN, just in case I get lucky, with an online BSN program as my back up plan...
  2. dreavt

    Portland oncology nursing?

    Than you for the insight! I have to admit the work/debt involved in getting a BSN isn't too appealing... but I will definitely research my options. Thanks again!
  3. dreavt

    OCN 2015!!!

    i took the exam 4 years ago and passed, and quite a few of my colleagues (past and present) are also OCN and passed on the first try. In fact the only nurse I personally know of who failed was one who didn't study -- she felt she'd been an oncology nurse long enough (12 years!) that she didn't need to study. Of course the issue is that it tests your knowledge of ALL of oncology nursing -- most of us specialize to some or to a large extent. She'd only ever worked on a med-surg hem/onc inpatient unit (that rarely treated gyn onc patients, they went to another floor), and so of course had little experience with radiation oncology, gyn onc, preventative/screening stuff, outpatient treatments, and so on. So my advice is: Figure out what you DON'T know -- the study guide that accompanies the Core Curriculum is great for that. Focus on your weaknesses Do tons of practice questions -- don't get frustrated when you get some wrong, figure out what went wrong when you were answering -- sometimes it's not that you don't know the answer(s), it's that you misread/panicked/overthought Try to let go of anxiety Take your time and do your best, knowing that if you fail, it is NOT the end of the world -- you can try again! Good luck -- you'll be fine! Drea
  4. dreavt

    Portland oncology nursing?

    Hi everyone! I am 95% sure my family will be moving to Portland, likely within the next 1-2 years. My partner's a writer, so can live anywhere, but I've been an oncology nurse, specifically a "chemo nurse" (aka infusion nurse) for almost 6 years, and love my field. I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts/insights/opinions about the various cancer centers and oncology clinics in the Portland/Vancouver (we are leaning toward North Portland) area -- employers with good or bad reputations as far as quality of care, treatment of nurses, and so on? Possibly relevant: I don't have a BSN (I have a BA in another field + an ADN) -- it seems that OHSU "requires" outside applicants to have one. Any thoughts on how strict this requirement is, and/or whether this will be an issue with other employers in the area? Obviously, I'm a way off from being ready to apply for jobs, but I'm excited about and interested in what my best options may be when the time comes. Thanks so much! Drea
  5. dreavt

    gracefully withdrawing interest in a position?

    Thanks, Purple & Meriwhen! That's what I was leaning towards. Part of me is just curious to know if I'll make the cut... Appreciate your input!
  6. Hi all, I applied for a job which I think in many ways would be perfect for me. Alas, the hours (8-5 M-F) and commute (1+ hr each way) would be terrible for my life & family. In my initial interview, it became clear that this was not something that would be easily adjusted in the future -- in fact they are looking for a replacement because the current nurse in this position wants to go to part-time, which they "just can't do" (and their rationale made perfect sense). I also learned that this is going to be a long process, with multiple interviews with various individuals and groups -- they are looking for a "perfect" candidate. After much discussion and thinking, I've decided don't want to pursue this job. Honestly, I doubt I would get it anyway (I think I'd be great at it, but "perfect"???). On the other hand, you never know.... My question(s): Should I email the nursing supervisor (who interviewed me) now and let her know I'm no longer interested? Wait and see if I'm invited back for the second round of interviews, and then decline? How can I gracefully and professionally communicate that I'd love this job if it was 2-3 days a week? Any advice most welcome! Thank you!
  7. I'm sure it varies regionally and facility-to-facility, as others have pointed out. My experience is no -- I've got an ADN, and neither I nor any of my classmates had a harder time getting a job than BSN nurses who graduated at the same time (summer 2009).
  8. I may be getting ahead of myself, but I'm obsessing about this and hope articulating it will help -- any feedback appreciated! I've been a nurse for just over 2 yrs, all of that on an inpatient hem/onc unit. Currently I work 2 12-hr nights back-to-back per week. Having those 4 days off (I don't count .5 of the day before and the day after my two nights on because I'm sleeping), is pretty sweet. My job itself is very stressful most of the time, in large part due to what I will diplomatically call "unsupportive" management, understaffing, high turnover, etc. I also feel more and more that acute care nursing is not my gig -- I really want to encounter pts earlier in their cancer journey. Also, I love oncology and about 20-30% of our pts at any given time are actually general med-surg overflow (including a significant number of ETOH or acetaminophen overdoses -- really? on an *oncology* unit?) -- again, not my gig, generally speaking. I *also* think that shift work is inherently unhealthy, at least for long periods. So, I've started applying for other jobs. I got a call today for an interview for a oncology clinical trials nursing job, and was kinda giddy about it for a few hours -- I've always wanted to work in clinical research, I've participated in many trials as a patient, and it just seems like it would fit with my personality and interests. Here's the thing: it's M-F 8:30-5. Like a *normal* job. The commute would be an hour+/- depending on if I drove or took the bus -- about the same as my current job (except I don't have the option of the bus currently). Should I sacrifice my sweet schedule/painful job for a sweet job/painful schedule? I'm 40, have a partner and a 7 yr-old that I really like to spend time with. My partner works from home and could pick up the childcare/household slack, but it would be a drag. I know no one can tell me what to do, and of course I may not even be offered this job -- but others I've applied for are also FT days. Anybody made a switch like this? How was it? Any advice or thoughts? Thanks so much!
  9. dreavt

    cancer treatment and antibiotics

    I'm in inpatient hem/onc, and we frequently given antibiotics to pts who are undergoing chemo and/or radiation (or have just finished treatment), if they have a neutropenic fever or a known infection. Sometimes waiting for a course of abc to be completed before starting chemo would be practical (i.e. early-stage breast cancer), other times it wouldn't (i.e. AML). Like so much, it depends!
  10. Hello all, I just got back from the ONS Institutes of Learning and am now fascinated with the use of "closed system transfer devices" for chemo administration, especially for actually connecting the chemo tubing to the pt's line (central or peripheral). I've been an inpatient hem/onc nurse for 2+ yrs, giving chemo for 1+ yr, and have never even really understood what these devices were (I thought they were interchangeable with "needleless connectors") -- however at IOL, it seemed like common practice. I'm curious about your experience with them, and advice/thoughts on introducing their use at my institution. Thanks!
  11. dreavt

    Best way to study for OCN exam?

    *oops -- random double-post deleted*
  12. dreavt

    Best way to study for OCN exam?

    You find out if you passed the OCN exam immediately -- right after you submit your final answer!
  13. dreavt

    Best way to study for OCN exam?

    Everyone gets the same number of questions, but not the same questions. However all the tests follow the "blueprint" -- i.e. x % of questions are about oncologic emergencies, x % are about supportive care, etc. Remember that unlike the NCLEX, you can go back after you've answered a question -- you can even flag the ones you want to re-check if you have time at the end. I passed on my 1st try with about 1.75 yrs of experience as a nurse, all of it in inpatient hem/onc, and studying for about 1 month. I was ALL ABOUT the questions! It gives you a good sense of where your weaknesses and strengths are, and the type of questions you are likely to get. I took it around the same time with 2 co-workers -- one relied on her 12-yr experience and failed, the other, with about 5 yrs experience, studied for longer than I did (at least 3 months, and consistently, every day), passed easily. I really think if you prepare, most people will pass. Don't freak out! Good luck!
  14. dreavt

    Best way to study for OCN exam?

    I signed up in January 2011 and passed in May! It was tough but not absurdly so -- however IMHO *you must study* no matter how many years experience you have. The questions are just too detailed and in too many subspecialities of oncology for any one human to just wing it. Do know that it's different than the NCLEX in that you can go *back* and change answers -- that can be a bad thing, but if you use it judiciously it allows you to move on from a tricky question and than go back later if another question triggers the answer. I used this book which I borrowed from a coworker: http://www.amazon.com/Core-Curriculum-Oncology-Nursing-4th/dp/0721603572/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b BUT FIRST I did the study guide: http://www.amazon.com/Study-Guide-Curriculum-Oncology-Nursing/dp/0721603599/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312726235&sr=8-1 I went thru the study guide cover to cover answering all the questions, checking my answers, reading the rationale and taking notes about what I did not know. I found some chapters (i.e. a lot of the psychosocial stuff) really easy, barely missed any questions -- so I skipped those chapters in the text book when actually studying. Other chapters I would get many questions but there were subcategories I clearly needed to brush up on; and other chapters I missed so many that it was obvious I needed to really focus on that chapter/subject matter. That part took several weeks because I wouldn't do many chapters at a time. Then I crammed with the actual text book for about 1 1/2-2 weeks. Good luck!
  15. Hello all, I've been in inpatient hem/onc for 2 years as of Aug 2011 (my first nursing job), and though in many ways I love it, I'm really wanting to move to outpatient/clinic work, though stay in oncology. In the past 2 years I've earned 112 CEUs/CNE hours (I just counted!), the majority of which are in oncology. I'm thinking about including this in my resume, as a bullet under my description of my current position, something along the lines of: " - Enhanced current knowledge in field by earning over 100 CEUs in oncology nursing (details available upon request)" Or should I put it under the "Licenses/Cerifications" heading? (I have my RN, chemo provider certification and OCN certification listed there.) Or somewhere else? Or word it differently? Or leave it off? I just know from chatting with my colleagues that this is somewhat more than most other RNs in my dept have done and feel like it might help me stand out... Thank you for any feedback/insight! Drea