A nurse is floated to oncology from the postsurgical floor. The assigned client is almost finished with an infusion of doxorubicin for breast cancer. The floated nurse is not chemotherapy certified. Which nursing action is the priority in this situation?

  • assess the client’s pain
  • ask another nurse about side effects of the drug
  • assess the IV site, including the date on the tubing and IV site
  • inform the charge nurse that she is not chemotherapy certified and ask for another assignment
Number 4 is correct.
Chemotherapy administration and monitoring must be performed by nurses who have been certified in chemotherapy. This nurse is not certified and is not familiar with side effects or complications to be aware of. The nurse may care for another client who is not receiving chemotherapy. Client safety is always a priority, and though the nurse may observe other nurses administering chemotherapy as a learning moment, she is still prohibited from providing care that lies outside her area of training and expertise. Assessing pain and assessing the IV site are important, but not as important as ensuring that the nurse is familiar with chemotherapy administration. Asking about drug side effects is beneficial for the nurse who is not familiar with the drug, but does not address the fact that the nurse must be chemotherapy certified.