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cancer.sucks's Latest Activity

  1. cancer.sucks

    OCN exam quandries

    To get the OCN test blueprint and booklet that includes recommended resources, go to the ONCC website. However, if you just want to know the primary book to study, get the most recent Core Curriculum for Oncology Nursing and the study guide that goes along with it. Both of those are for sale on the ONS website or on Amazon for that matter. Just get the most recent edition. The benefit of the blueprint is to tell you how the topics are broken down by percentage of questions. It will help you focus where you need to study the most.
  2. cancer.sucks

    Do you dream about work?

    I rarely dream about work. However, in the early years of my career I had to carefully choose an alarm clock that would wake me up, but that did not sound like any of the alarms at work. If my clock alarm sounded remotely like any alarm at work I would either sleep through it and it would creep into my dreams or I would awaken in a panic. Of course I am referring to the days before the cell phone alarms that have so many choices.
  3. cancer.sucks

    Becoming a RN

    Transitioning to a career from college causes anxiety regardless of the degree. I really think that it is compounded for nursing because you are acutely aware that how well you do your job directly can affect the health of someone else. The person that is your best friend in the months following graduation and transitioning into nursing is your preceptor. If you already have a job, great, find out about your preceptor and take advantage of any "field trip" opportunities that your hospital provides. If you do not yet have a job, include questions in your interview about the orientation program of the hospital. How long does it last? How many classes will be offered in addition to preceptorship? When an interview is scheduled, most new graduates concentrate on what their own responses will be to the questions, and that is important. However, just as important are preparing your own questions about the job (hours, work environment, staffing ratios) and the preparation for that job. As a new graduate you want to work for a facility that is interested in your success, not just your license.
  4. cancer.sucks

    AJN magazine

    I prefer to subscribe to specialty (oncology) journals. However, if you are a med/surg nurse facing a multitude of diagnoses, then it can be a valuable tool for you. If I remember correctly, the CEUs generally have an online link by which you can submit rather than messing with snail mail.
  5. cancer.sucks

    One of our pet peeves

    Pain is defined as what the patient says it is occurring when the patient says it does. That is a fact. While we as nurses have a tendency not to believe the patient that is asking for pain meds while on the phone, doing her nails, and reading a magazine....or listening to music, or playing a video game....the list goes on. I know that especially in the case of chronic malignant pain the patient distracts from the pain with so many different activity just to get to the point that it is time for the medication that can provide some relief. Additionally, the chronic pain patient knows that the medication needs to be taken before it gets out of control. These patients have been doubted so often when they describe a pain level of a 4 or 5, that they may exaggerate the number in order to get the attention that they need to obtain the medication that will control the pain. I will not say that no patient gives a false pain report just to get a stronger medication. But my statement is that just because a patient is doing other activities while claiming to be in pain is not the reason to doubt their report. It is reason to request more details about the pain. Patients that are in pain can provide descriptors about the pain including what it feels like, where it is located, where does it radiate to, and how long has it been hurting.
  6. cancer.sucks

    IV Push Medication

    but there are medications ie. chemo meds given IV push but are required to be administered over 15mins. When a chemotherapy medication is given IV push blood return also has to be frequently assessed. The nurse has to be in complete control of the infusion port, the syringe, the line, and the injection site at all times especially when pushing a hazardous chemical like chemotherapy. It is not practical to pull back for blood return at a higher port, too much drug has to be aspirated to get that blood return. Additionally, too much chemotherapy is potentially in the tubing to safely aspirate back in the case of extravasation. By pushing any drug into the port closest to the patient it reaches the patient faster for efficacy (opioids and steroids) and is safer because the nurse can assess the injection site much more consistently during medications classified as irritants or vesicants (phenergan, chemo, etc).
  7. cancer.sucks

    Epic Charting System

    Epic is set up to be user friendly regardless of where or how often the patient enters the healthcare system. If one of my oncology patients shows up in the ER, the ER staff can very easily how long ago the patient had chemotherapy, blood transfusion, or surgery. Even if the ER is at a different hospital, the EPIC systems can be linked so that information from a different hospital is also readily available. I have used 3 other electronic systems. EPIC got it right.
  8. cancer.sucks


    Be careful about using an outdated text. The OCN exam is evaluated every 3 years for outdated information questions and anything referring to outdated information is thrown out. If you use an outdated text, you may well review information that you consider "general oncology info" and it has been thrown out by ONCC as outdated. I would highly encourage you use the most recent core curriculum for studying and be sure that if you are reviewing a course that it is written based on the ONCC test blueprint from 2012.
  9. cancer.sucks

    Port Medication

    The reason for using a 10ml syringe to push medications through a portacath (or a PICC line for that matter) is because of the pressure caused by pushing a medication. The smaller the syringe the greater PSI that is provided with each push. There are many medications that are recommended to be diluted in 10ml of solution. However, just because a 10ml syringe is used doesn't mean it has to be full. If a medication is pushed that is not recommended to be diluted, it should still be pushed through a 10ml syringe even if the volume is only 2-3ml. Whatever the med, it is up to the RN to be aware of the recommendation regarding dilution of the medication.
  10. cancer.sucks

    Dealing with the sad parts

    I love that you said that SoldierNurse22!! I have been primarily in adult oncology, but come from the land of St. Jude Hospital although I do not live there anymore. When an adult patient loses their battle with cancer there are many more people impacted directly by that death especially if they lived a fruitful live and touched others. The grief associated with a child's death is felt very intensely by fewer people. The grief process is much different with the 2 populations. I still say that the oncology nurse has the opportunity to impact that life--or that death in a positive way despite the age of the patient.
  11. cancer.sucks

    Dealing with the sad parts

    I hope that you can find a way to value all of the experiences that you have with your patients--the good and the bad. I have told many people that there are few things in this world that I do well. Being an oncology nurse is what I am proudest of and I have done it for almost 30 years. Please remember that you are not responsible for their diagnosis. The best way to cope with the challenges of oncology is to be as good at it as you can. You will meet these patients after their diagnosis and their lives, however long or short they may be, will be better because you are good at what you do and you care about each patient. It is the nurse that is a patient advocate, a careful clinician, a continuous learner, and a true caregiver that make a difference in the patient success. Keep in mind in oncology success is not always measured by length of life or overall survival. Often it is measured by the quality of life and the impact of the high-touch care that is provided often in a high-tech environment. If you really want to learn to emotionally cope with the sadness of the death that occurs, learn as much as you can to be an effective member of the healthcare team and connect with the patient and family when they are at their most frightened and vulnerable. Realize that at that moment you are an honored guest and the gift that you bring is your knowledge, your skill and yourself. You will begin to recognize your own value and will crave the connection with the patients. You will cry with them at their lows and celebrate with their victories. But their death does not define you or your practice. I love being an oncology nurse. It is not for everyone, but if it is for you, I wish you the best.
  12. cancer.sucks

    Pregnant Oncology Nurse

    I gave chemotherapy through 2 pregnancies and all was fine. I consistently use chemo cloves and gown, but have not ever used a face shield or safety glasses. Both pregnancies were uneventful and both of my girls are fine. Both were honor students throughout college, one was an athlete, and the other is an artist. My granddaughter also is fine. Keep wearing your gloves and gown and washing your hands before and after administration. You and your baby will be fine. I have been in an oncology nurse for 28 years. Of course, if being around chemotherapy causes anxiety for you, then it is certainly your right to request a different assignment. But if being with the cancer patients and doing what you know best is where you are the happiest and the most effective, you can keep your baby safe by following safety measures.