Radiation Oncology Clinic

The Department of Radiation Oncology is located on the 1st floor of the Davis Cancer Pavilion which is part of the Shands Medical Plaza facility.  Radiation Oncology provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for patients with cancer.  Radiation Oncology staff work in collaboration with several other cancer services to provide multidisciplinary care to patients. The Radiation Oncology Clinic utilizes 16 exam rooms for provision of consultations, post-treatment follow-up clinic visits, and on-treatment patient clinic visits.  The department includes 2 CT simulators, 1 orthovoltage treatment unit, 1 high dose remote afterloading treatment unit, and 5 linear accelerators in the Medical Plaza facility, and 1 linear accelerator in a hospital facility located on the ground floor of the Shands-UF north tower.  Routine clinic and treatment services are provided Monday through Friday, and emergency services are provided seven days per week.

Description of Patient Populations

Typically, patients with a cancer diagnosis are referred to Radiation Oncology for evaluation and treatment by primary care physicians or other oncology services.  Self-referrals are also accepted.  Most frequent tumor groups treated:  Head & Neck; GU; GI; Lung; Breast; GYN; Brain; Pelvis; Lymphoma; Sarcoma; TBI; Mets.  Age of patients served:  toddlers; preschoolers; school-age; adolescents; adults; geriatrics.  Stereotactic radiosurgery candidates are evaluated in the Neurosurgery Clinic and referred to Radiation Oncology for treatment.  These patients may have malignant or non-malignant brain lesions.

Nursing Care

Nursing care is focused on patient assessment, patient education for treatment and post-treatment discharge, and for evaluation and care during treatment.  The nursing staff is also involved with special procedures including high-dose remote after loading procedures, radioelement infusions, SpaceOAR hydrogel placement, and stereotactic radiosurgery.  Multidisciplinary, comprehensive care of patients and families is provided by medicine, nursing, social work services, rehab services, food & nutrition, pharmacy and other healthcare providers as indicated by the patient’s health status and identified needs.

Nursing management for the clinic includes one Manager, Clinical Operations (RN), five Registered Nurses, one Licensed Practical Nurse, two Nursing Assistants and one Unit Clerk.  Nursing staff are provided training experiences to attain and maintain competence as defined by the department/role-specific job descriptions and departmental education plan.

Health Care Team

The Department Chair of Radiation Oncology is appointed by the Dean, College of Medicine. The Clinic Medical Director is appointed by the Chair of Radiation Oncology.  The Radiation Oncology Service consists of seven attending physicians, and eight resident physicians, including a chief resident. 

Clinic support staff provide clerical support for the direct patient caregivers. The treatment team consists of a Technical Director, 18 licensed Radiation Therapists, and one scheduling coordinator.  The Radiation Therapists provide all radiation treatments for Radiation Oncology patients.

Staffing Plan

Nursing care in Radiation Oncology Clinic is based on physician-nursing teams; each nurse has primary responsibility to specific attending physician/resident physician teams.  Clinic clerical staff provides support for obtaining records, scheduling tests/procedures and appointments, etc.  Patient care assignments are made by the Manager of Clinical Operations.  Skill mix is:  RNs (6); LPN 1; Nursing Assistant (2); Unit Clerk (1).  The clinic is staffed Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Requests for Paid Time Off (PTO) are reviewed on a case-by-case basis with consideration for staffing needs of the clinic.  Requests are granted only if minimum staffing numbers are maintained with coverage that does not incur overtime. RNs should be OCN certified and successfully complete the Radiation Oncology Certificate Program within a specified period after employment begins.

Reviewed 1/6/2021

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Jennifer Zimmerman, RN, explaining to a parent and her daughter how to use a bedside asthma action plan.