Job Title: Oncology Nurse
Type of Company: Nonprofit hospital in northern Virginia.
Education: BSN, Salisbury State University
Previous Experience: I owned my own cleaning and home care company. After that I worked at a hospital in Washington, DC for five years.
Job Tasks: I currently work full-time in an oncology out-patient clinic, where the patient population is a mixture of non-English speaking immigrants and middle-class suburbanites.
"Full-time," in my case, means working three twelve-hour shifts every week, administering chemotherapy, intravenous antibiotics and transfusions and attaching IV bags to patients, though I spend a part of each day answering phone calls, responding to emails and attending meetings. Since my patients are quite ill for the most part, I try to lend them my emotional support and develop a rapport with their families. Most patients have to come to the clinic over and over again and we often develop a strong bond.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I really enjoy my job. It's very rewarding and my schedule is flexible, so I am able to balance my family life with my career. My co-workers are all experienced nurses and I find that I'm constantly learning new things about treatment from them. But the best part of my job is the relationships I develop with my patients. I can always walk away and feel like I have made a difference in their lives.
The difficult part of my job is its fast pace and hectic atmosphere. This is often stressful.
Job Tips: Examine your long-term career goals. You may not always relish doing shift work, especially as you get older. Still, it's not so bad when you're younger and are starting a family, and the scheduling flexibility it allows you can be very appealing. But be sure that you enjoy working with people. It's an inescapable part of the job..
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