Reply To: Core oncology staff in mixed med/surg/onc unit

  • Kelly Horn

    May 18, 2023 at 9:13 pm
    We have a mixed unit of 48 beds and about 80 nurses.  Approximately 30 of those are APHON chemo/bio providers.  We have had a lot of turn-over in the past 2 years and at times it has been challenging.  Our average HemOnc census runs from 3 to 9 per day right now.  Luckily for us we’re in a bit of a slower period with inpatient admissions.  It is challenging for the schedulers. We have divided our staffing grid into chemo nurses, those with over 2 years experience (not chemo) and new nurses.  The scheduler makes sure we have about 4 chemo nurses on day shift, but unfortunately, we only have 2-3 on nights at the most.  We also have a couple of chemo nurses in our float pool that can help staff.  
    We only allow chemo nurses to trade shifts with chemo nurses and we restrict the number allowed on pto at one time.  If we have a low census day and we have to put people on call or float staff, we may have to go “out of turn” to ensure we have enough chemo nurses. 
    We require about a year of experience before they can go to chemo/bio class so we never have all of our staff as providers.  We also do not make all of them obtain it if they have a valid personal or emotional reason or volunteer to be a champion in another area (dialysis etc. )  That is usually a manager decision. 
    Let me know if you have any further questions.  I have been here for 26 years and we have always maintained it this way.  

    1901 S.W. H.K. Dodgen Loop l Temple, TX  76502

    Office: 254-935-4416 l Cell:  254-718-7722


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    Original Message:
    Sent: 5/5/2023 3:13:00 AM
    From: Lori Neptun
    Subject: Core oncology staff in mixed med/surg/onc unit

    Hello, for those who work in mixed med/surg/onc units:
    -are all staff trained to administer chemotherapy/biotherapy to oncology patients or do you have a core group?
    -if not all nurses are required to administer chemo, how do you ensure you have enough nurses who are chemo trained on shift?
    -if not all nurses are required, how does this affect staffing, vacation requests, low census days, etc.?

    Thank you for your insight,

    Lori Neptun, RN, MN, CPN, CPHON
    Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital
    Tacoma, WA