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Top Tips for Oncology


Next up in our DFTB Top Tips series is a set of helpful tips for caring for oncology patients.

Top Tips for Managing Febrile Neutropaenia

  1. Patient should be nursed in protective isolation
  2. Access your local Paediatric Oncology Supportive Care Guidelines for first-line antibiotic choice
  3. Refer to your Local Paediatric Oncology Supportive Care Guidelines for guidance and to ensure all correct tests are completed 
  4. Medical review and IV antibiotics to be administered within an hour of presentation 
  5. One documented temperature 38  ̊C or over is enough to start treatment (even if this was at home and they are now under 38  ̊C)
  6. Culture all lumens 
  7. The use of high-dose steroids in induction treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia can mask signs of infection, low threshold for starting treatment for febrile neutropaenia during this part of the protocol

3 other things to think about…

  1. Pre-filled saline flushes: These contain preservatives which can cause discomfort or allergy in some patients – find out if your patient is sensitive.
  2. Nausea and vomiting can be made worse by strong smells such as antiseptic wipes.
  3. Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy and can cause considerable pain for patients. Be careful when inserting nasogastric tubes, encourage regular mouth care and analgesia and avoid using PR medications.

What are some of your top tips when caring for oncology patients? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

For your convenience or as a handy reminder for your workplace, the top tips are highlighted in an A4 poster below (infographic design by Kat Priddis @kls_kat):

An infographic showcasing some key oncology tips - think about mucositis and febrile neutropaenia


  • Ana Waddington is a senior Nurse (Sister) in paediatric emergency and trauma care at London’s largest trauma centre, with a specialised interest in severe youth violence in London. Founder of YourStance - save a life, don’t take a life, small project teaching basic life support and haemorrhage control to young offenders in prisons across London. Prior to training as a nurse, her specialist interest in adolescent care was nurtured from working in adolescent oncology and refugee work. From Spain, United Kingdom and Chile, Ana is fluent in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian, having been brought up in various countries around the world.


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