By Heather Brom, MS, RN, CNP
I was about as green as could be when I accepted my first oncology nurse practitioner position caring for BMT patients across the inpatient and outpatient settings. To say I was a deer in the headlights was an understatement! I had joined a wonderful and dynamic team who was attempting to keep up with the growth of their program while balancing the learning needs of the four nurse practitioners they had hired in a six-month span.
There were so many acronyms and abbreviations that at times they felt like a foreign language. I also was attempting to make sense of what I learned in nursing school, which was focused on primary care, while integrating that knowledge within the acute and specialized setting in which I was practicing.
The first 18 months were overwhelming. I often found myself doubting my career choice, but my passion for caring for patients with cancer kept me going. Finally, about two years in, I found my stride.
As I moved on to other roles in our organization, I saw a trend. Our hospital’s growth was tremendous, and the need for providers was substantial. To meet this demand, we often hired novice nurse practitioners and/or those with no oncology experience. Many of these new oncology nurse practitioners struggled just like I did in their first few years. We felt there was more we could do as an organization to support their development.
Our story is not unique, as many cancer programs struggle with the best way to “onboard” and educate their advanced practice staff. That’s why Margaret Rosenzeweig, Stephanie Schulte and I will be presenting Preparing for Practice: Educating the New Oncology Advanced Practice Registered Nurse on Friday, May 2 at Congress.
Join us to learn about different options for effectively educating your new oncology advanced practice registered nurses. We’ll share our experiences with a university-based cancer program and fellowship. We’ll also share unique ways to engage other resources, such as librarians, to develop your staff’s knowledge and confidence.