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Is an Oncology Based Role Right For You?

One of the benefits of working in healthcare is the number of areas you can specialize in. Many find themselves drawn to oncology as a specialization. 

There are several reasons people find themselves drawn to oncology. You may have experienced cancer growing up or have a loved one who experienced a form of cancer. If you find yourself drawn to oncology, here are three things to consider to help you determine if an oncology-based role is right for you.

Understanding Your Why

If you desire to work in oncology, it is crucial to understand why and how that might impact how you perform your work. For example, if you experienced cancer as a child, would you be ok working with pediatric cancer patients? Or would it bring back too many hurtful memories?

Likewise, if you had a loved one pass away from cancer, how would you cope if you were assigned a patient who reminded you of them or had the same type of cancer?

Having personal experience with cancer can provide you with more empathy and understanding since you can relate on a personal level with your patients. However, depending on your background, it could also be too stressful. 

If you do have personal experience with cancer, it is vital to evaluate your feelings thoroughly, what might be triggering for you, and how you plan to cope with this in your workplace. Compassion fatigue may be more likely if you overextend yourself to your patients, so setting firm boundaries, establishing strong self-care practices, and acknowledging your feelings are key.

Skills in Family-Centered Care

Working in oncology might be a great fit if you excel in providing family-centered care. Cancer is scary, and patients and their families and friends will likely have tough questions about treatments and outcomes. 

Many oncology healthcare providers do a great job breaking down complex patient health information. However, patients and families sometimes have questions that come up after the provider has left or feel uncomfortable clarifying information they don’t understand.

As a healthcare worker in oncology, it is essential to have critical thinking skills to understand when to answer questions about care, reach out to the provider for clarification when needed, and know when to reach out to other healthcare team members such as a chaplain or social worker. Ultimately, in family-centered care, you advocate for your patient, family, and friends and help them navigate the process.

Ability to Navigate Patient Loss

At some point in your healthcare career, you will inevitably experience patient loss. However, specific healthcare specialties experience higher rates of loss.

While treatments are constantly evolving, cancer is a specialty where you will face patient death. It is essential to understand how to help patients cope with poor prognoses and the possibility of death and dying. You will likely have other professionals in palliative or hospice care to help you and your patients through this transition.

It is tough to have a patient pass. If their treatment has been a long process, you may have gotten close to them and experience a loss when they go. You might find closure going to funerals or the service for your patient. Having a therapist or chaplain to talk to can also be helpful. Many healthcare organizations offer emotional support to their employees through avenues such as an employee assistance program (EAP) or social workers at the hospital.

Key Takeaways

Working in oncology is a rewarding and challenging field. You can impact someone’s life through some of their most challenging moments.

If you are empathetic, have a firm grasp on your feelings towards death and dying, and feel you can provide a high level of family-centered care, oncology may be a great fit for you. Consider contract staffing through 365 Healthcare Staffing Services if you seek an oncology role.

365 Healthcare Staffing Services has open positions nationwide, including oncology roles. Check out their open positions to take the first step in your new career today!