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General Discussions

An Unusual Welcome for New Nurses

By Patricia Jakel, MN, RN, AOCN
General Discussions - Discussions
18 replies
I love introducing new nurses to the joy of oncology nursing. The process is gratifying, stressful, and brings much happiness and meaning to my work. However, this year is difficult for everyone including the new nurses, preceptors, and educators.

Our 6 new grads were postponed 3 months, and 5 had to start on a COVID-19 unit. As the oncology census lessened – we finally found a way to stop inappropriate hospitalization– 1 oncology unit was converted to housing COVID-19 patients. When we informed the 5 nurses that they would not be on an oncology unit, no one quit- thankfully. We made a decision to start all 6 nurses on the 1 active oncology unit for 2 weeks. I received negative feedback from leaders, but I wanted the new nurse to be less terrified and learn basic skills before working 12 hours in full personal protective equipment (PPE) with changing practices.

I was concerned about adaption of the unit culture, relationship with preceptors, and lack of evidence for the hybrid model. Five weeks into the orientation, the new grads have been working on the COVID-19 unit for 3 weeks and everything is going well. The preceptors on the COIVD-19 unit congratulated the oncology nurses for the thoughtful and varied orientation the new nurses received.

These are stressful time for new nurses, so be kind and remember the journey needed from novice to expert.

Benner P. From Novice to Expert. Nursing Theory

Patricia Jakel, RN, co-editor in chief at Oncology Nursing News, is an advance practice nurse for the Solid Tumor Program at UCLA Healthcare. She oversees the care of 25-35 patients receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, symptom management, and end-of-life care. Jakel mentors new nurses to the art of oncology nursing. She is also involved in nursing research looking at moral distress and compassion fatigue. She is a frequent speaker on symptom management, new oncology treatments, resilience building and ethical issues in oncology. She has numerous publications on ethics and oncology nursing, compassion fatigue, and chemotherapy agents.
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