Within Oncology nursing there are many different fields of nursing or specialities. One of these is those nurses who are specializing in the administering of “chemotherapy”. A new concern has arisen for some of the oncology nurses that are in these positions. The worry is about “contamination” from cytotoxic chemotherapy.
One of the common procedures that are carried out in oncology treatment areas is the administration of chemotherapy drugs. Most often these drugs have to be mixed in order to achieve the proper dosage for each patient that it is being administered. These chemotherapy drugs can be very potent and they usually create some type of side effect for the patients that have to use them. What has gone unnoticed is if there are side effects that the oncology nurses are at risk for just by handling these drugs.
What is adding to the concern is that many of the medical establishments may not being doing enough monitoring or screening of their nurses to determine if they are experiencing any side effects. The concerns revolve around the possibility of these nurses experiencing hair loss, or having symptoms that are mimicking the flu.
Contamination by these cancer drugs is a very real threat and there are some organizations that are trying to create awareness for this. It makes good sense that potential problems like this should be recognized early before they get out of hand. Taking positive steps to identifying the potential threats then mitigating them would be a sound practice.
While this is one of the newer risks that is being brought to the forefront there are other health risks that oncology nurses face that have been well recognized. This is health factors that can affect them mentally like the stress that comes with this type of medical career. Every facet of medicine has its own challenges but cancer seems to create some extra ones because of the mental demands that are put on the nurses who have made this particular area of medicine the one they want to practice in.
Most of the nurses that are practicing oncology medicine are so dedicated to their patients needs that they put the patients concerns ahead of theirs and many not even realize that they are facing their own health risks. This is not something that should be ignored as there is always a great demand for these nurses who have chosen to work in the field of cancer.