It’s almost mind-boggling how the field of cancer chemotherapy has grown in just the past few years. Exciting new treatment options are being announced almost daily, and these advances are accompanied by an exponential growth in the demand for specialized oncology / chemotherapy nurses throughout the US.
If you’re an experienced, chemotherapy-certified oncology nurse who wants to be where the action is in the latest developments in cancer research and treatment, working as an oncology travel nurse might be the boost your career is looking for.
To help you decide whether travel nursing is right for you, we spoke with Deborah Thompson, one of our experienced chemo nurses, who has been a travel nurse for more than five years. “It’s a mindset of wanting to help people and loving to travel,” she says. “Many oncology nurses are used to their hometowns and want to stay there. I wanted the opportunity to experience other cities and learn more about cancer treatments.”
Deborah accepts placements based on her assessment of her capacity to fulfill the job requirements, as well as her personal and family needs. One of the many perks of travel nursing is the unusual flexibility it offers.
Deborah typically works eight-week assignments and accepts no placements for a few months in the spring. On the job, she flies home at least one weekend during her placement, or her kids fly to where she’s working to visit a new city. (Pro tip from Deborah: always check the cost of flights between home and placement cities before taking a placement.)
Travel nursing enables Deborah to see how various institutions treat patients with cancer, adding to her knowledge and skill base. She’s worked in community hospitals, teaching hospitals, and research centers, and each experience teaches her something new and different that she can take to the next assignment. She’s also been involved in several clinical trials.
Deborah says, “When it comes to oncology, I like to learn about different types of cancers and the latest and greatest in treatment for each type. The more you can learn from other doctors, research facilities, and hospitals, the more you can help down the road in other placements.”
She observes, “As an oncology nurse I’ve noticed that each geographic area has certain types of cancer that are more prevalent than they are in other areas, so I can work on my skill for that specific cancer. Learning about different types of cancer and getting new perspectives on treatment and research is fascinating and really adds to the care I bring to my patients every day.”
Deborah’s advice to prospective travel nurses:
- As a travel nurse, you have to go in, do your job, be knowledgeable, know your skills, and come up to speed quickly. You need to be able to hit the floor running.
- You have to know who you are as a person. It’s not just about work; it’s also about what you’re doing when you’re not at work — embracing the sights and sounds of your new environment. Caring for patients and making new friends are two sides of the same coin.
- Do your research. Befriend your recruiter on a professional and personal level so they know what you’d like and where you’d fit best.
Are you intrigued about working in a variety of clinical or research settings where cancer treatment history is being made? Are you stimulated by variety and flexibility in your working life? Do you love to see new places and meet new people? And do you like the idea of earning well-above-average pay while you’re having all those great new experiences? Then Freedom Healthcare Staffing wants to talk to you. Visit our website and complete an application. We’re eager to hear from you!