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..
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Registered Nurses, including: