« All Blogs Jun 18, 2019
My First 90 Days as a Cancer Information Specialist
Cancer Information Specialist

By CHAMPS Oncology Cancer Information Specialist Julie McClain

March 15, 2019 was my first day of employment as a cancer information specialist at CHAMPS Oncology. I had first-day nervous butterflies in my stomach even though I sat in the comfort of my home office wearing my favorite yoga pants. It was my first time working remotely, and I was anxious to get started.

I am a new CTR and somewhat of a newbie to the cancer registry. A few years ago I stumbled upon a random job posting for a cancer information specialist position. At that time, I was experiencing career burnout after 16 years of working in a hospital operating room. I knew it was past time for a change. After lots of Googling and research, I realized a career in cancer registry services might be just the change I needed!


Making the transition to working remotely has been a positive experience for me. The mornings at my house have become less stressful since I don’t have to make the dreaded commute to work. And, CHAMPS made the transition smooth by scheduling a virtual orientation with me where I learned how to navigate required computer applications, view webinars and meet with other departments virtually.


As a new CTR, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the CHAMPS New CTR Education Plan. The plan includes continuing education opportunities, feedback on my abstracts, quality checks and abstracting tips. The CHAMPS Quality Department has done an amazing job with this education. I believe the information I have learned as part of the New CTR Education Plan has been instrumental in my path to becoming a successful CTR. And, though this career challenges me every day, I have received endless support and encouragement from my manager, the CHAMPS Quality Department and my co-workers.


The highlight of my CHAMPS employment so far has been the staff education retreat in Cleveland. It was so nice to put faces with names, make personal connections with other cancer information specialists on our team, explore the city and, of course, let’s not forget about all of the awesome food! Everyone was very welcoming and the accommodations were great. It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of a group of people who are so knowledgeable, passionate and proud of their work. Everyone left feeling energized and inspired by the idea that better data saves lives™.

As I reflect back on the last 90 days, I’m overwhelmed by all I have learned and how fast the time has flown by. I am still wear my favorite yoga pants while I work from my home office, but the nervous butterflies in my stomach have faded. As a new cancer information specialist, I know I still have a lot to learn, but I know I am in good hands with my team of cancer registry experts at CHAMPS Oncology. I am trying to soak up as much as I can and take this new career one day at a time!

Learn more about CHAMPS Oncology’s cancer registry careers.

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