From tomorrow I begin a 3 month secondment over in Medical Oncology Clinical Research Trials as a Clinical Nurse Coordinator at the Large Public Hospital That Employs Me.
For those not medically inclined or aren't quite sure what the hell I just said, allow me to break that sentence down. Medical oncology deals with solid tumours in body organs, so no leukemia or lymphomas. Clinical research trials does NOT mean I'll be conducting any research, but rather enrolling eligible patients into clinical trials, monitoring their progress, doing the reams of paperwork, following up and many things I don't even know about yet. The clinical nurse (CN) part is a bonus. There is no real equivalent in the US - not quite an advanced practice nurse but more than a Registered Nurse. I am stil an RN as the CN position does not require additional licensure but more autonomy and knowledge is expected. Oh and did I mention the sweet pay rise that comes with it? It's not why I applied for the job but I won't be knocking it back.
Now why only three months? First off it's all my current boss approved; my new boss was aiming for six months to start. The general feeling among all parties - myself, my current NUM (nurse unit manager) and new NUM - is that it will turn into a permanent secondment if I want it to. Why only a secondment? To be honest I have no idea. I suspect it has to do with funding and budgets and things beyond my ken or caring. There's only so much I can take in, and if I'm told I can stay then I really don't care right now who pays me.
I applied for this position back in January, but I missed out. However I had a frank talk with the NUM over there and we came to an understanding that I was very much interested should another position open up and she was glad to hear it. While I was on holidays I received a Facebook message from one of the trial nurses telling me such a position had opened up and was I still interested? Does a bear shit in the woods?? I stood in the middle of a caravan park in New South Wales on my mobile phone with the NUM to confirm I was, indeed, interested. Who says it pays to completely disconnect while on vacation?
I had a couple of weeks after I got back where I wasn't sure it was going to happen. The roster in my current unit is tight and me leaving wasn't helping. After all it's a secondment; I'm not resigning to work in another department. In the end we all came to an agreement to let me go at the end of May, and the time has flown! I start tomorrow! Gah! Squee, but gah! This is the first time in my career I've taken an upwards step and I'm while I'm nervous I'm also very excited.
There is a downside, even with a positive change like this. I like where I work and I really like the people I work with and the patients I treat. While I'm only across the service road, quite literally next door, I won't be working with the nurses every day or seeing the same patients every week. I will be around a fair bit as I have my ideas of how I want to incorporate my experiences in the unit into how the trial patients are brought through, but I will miss being a part of that team on a daily basis.
But there are just so many positives to stay focused on. Clinical trials are part of what we base future treatments on, and to be a more involved in that is exciting. I get to keep the patient contact that I enjoy so much - one reason I found the operating theater not to my liking is the patient is unconscious. Sure that's a benefit sometimes, but by and large I like talking to them. I get to expand on my oncology knowledge, and I won't be physically exhausted by the end of the week from the demands of an insanely busy unit.
So that's what's new here... well one thing. But it's a big one, don't you think? Big enough to get me back on my blog again. Here's to hoping I'll have the energy to stay on it.