I started as a new grad on the medicine floor, then transferred to oncology. I knew I wanted to work in oncology because my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. All the nurses he had were amazing.
The essence of the day
We have a 34-bed unit with a lot of very sick patients. We’re not an intensive care unit, but we have patients who are always on the brink. As a charge nurse, I’m free-floating. I’m able to field questions and help with anything going on with our patients, whether they need bone marrow biopsies, chemo, or support and education for a new diagnosis.
Ongoing learning and support
As Educational Liaison, I make sure that all our staff– nurses, techs, and secretaries–are up-to-date on yearly competencies and skills. We have an orientation day with new techs and RNs where we teach the specifics of the floor. I participate in skills days throughout the year for all of oncology, not just my floor. I also participate in Oncology Nursing Grand Rounds, where each month an educator presents a topic that they believe nurses would gain insight from. A lot of our nurses are also members of the Oncology Nursing Society, so they have opportunities through that channel, too.
The leading edge of medicine
I went to Truman State University in a rural town with a small hospital in Missouri. I knew I wanted to go somewhere with more opportunity. Barnes-Jewish is always involved in clinical trials that are on the leading edge of medicine. Since I’ve been here, we’ve had chemotherapies and treatments FDA-approved because of the trials we conducted. It’s amazing to be part of that.