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What is your role in interventional radiology?

I am involved with patients receiving chemotherapy in interventional radiology (IR) because there are no nurses who have earned the ONS chemotherapy provider card within the IR department. Several protocols require chemotherapy to be administered concurrently while a patient is having a procedure, like radiofrequency ablation.


When a patient is scheduled for a procedure in IR with chemotherapy, the nurses get the supplies, such as gowns and gloves. The orders are done in advance. I double check the chemotherapy before administration with the nurse manager and administer the drug at the scheduled time. I spend time with the nurse for that patient, reviewing safe handling and monitoring side effects. I leave her with a one-page chemotherapy hazard sheet as a reminder and my contact information. At this time, we don't have good, tight follow-up.

I have provided in-service training to the nursing staff in IR about the safe handling of chemotherapy. I can't stay for the complete infusion, so the nurses in IR need to properly dispose of the IV bag and tubing. Some of the nurses in IR have taken the ONS Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course but have not completed the hands-on portion.

My back-up person is the nurse manager, so I don't have to schedule my days off around patients' treatment. The nurse manager uses a staff nurse as her second check. If neither one of us is available, chemotherapy-verified research nurses in the clinical research unit can help out sometimes. If a research nurse is not an option, then the patient will need to be rescheduled.

The patients seem to come in waves. I anticipate that the number of chemotherapy treatments done in IR will increase. Chemotherapy will be more localized to target the tumor site. At that point, the most efficient thing would be to have a core group of nurses in IR that have their chemotherapy provider card. The ONS Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course could be given as part of orientation.

For now, I teach the ONS Biotherapy and Chemotherapy Course, which is offered three times per year at my institution. It is open to any nurse either within our institution or from outside hospitals. I'll continue to encourage any nurse that is involved with patients receiving chemotherapy to take the ONS course.

Christina Marino, RN, MSN, FNP, AOCNS [R], is the clinical nurse specialist for hematology, oncology, and stem cell transplant at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center. She is a member of the ONS Greater Los Angeles Chapter.
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Title Annotation:one nurse's perspective
Author:Marino, Christina
Publication:ONS Connect
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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