We asked TheONC readership what their best advice was for new oncology nurses just starting out in the field, and here were some of the responses we received:
As both an RN and a cancer survivor, I would recommend never forgetting that you are human and have feelings. Of course, be professional, but recognize that situations you may experience will have effects on you as a person. Find a colleague to whom you can share your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. We are at risk for stress-related disorders such as burnout and compassion fatigue.
Learn from your mistakes as well as your from your coworkers’ and peers’ [mistakes]. Share them; it doesn’t mean you are any less of a nurse, it means you want to help others not make the same mistake.
Always remember that just because you see things a certain way, doesn’t mean the patient will agree. You may view the care plan or the critical medication as most important, and the patient may be trying to get you to listen to their end-of-life desires. These patients normally will open up to us as caring nurses way more than they will family members because they tend to try to protect those closest to them.
Do your own math on dosages. If your answer varies from the dose on the order, find out why.
Be kind to yourself. Breathe. You will make mistakes. Take your time. Have patience with yourself and your patients. Talk about your fears and insecurities. Find a mentor who has walked this path before you.
Utilize your registered dietician staff who have full knowledge of what might benefit your cancer patients individualized needs during their treatments. Not only do we have the understanding of the science of food, but also how to practically implement the recommendations made.
Treat each patient as you would want to be treated; address them by name, tell them who you are and what your role is, and do not be judgmental as you have not walked in their shoes. Compassion is not the same as pity. Sometimes you will be the patient’s best advocate, but never forget the final decision is up to the patient.
Never assume that any two people have the same journey even if they have the same disease or are undergoing the same treatment. Listen for what is being said between the lines; ask questions when appropriate.
Continue to visit TheONC Blog Rolls and Message Boards for more personal perspectives and thoughts on oncology nursing!
FDA Approves Onivyde for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer Marijke Vroomen Durning, RN, 10/27/2015 3 On October 22, 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Onivyde (irinotecan liposome injection, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc.), in combination with fluorouracil ...