1. Polovich, Martha PhD, RN, AOCN(R)


The inherent toxicity of antineoplastic drugs used for the treatment of cancer makes them harmful to healthy cells as well as to cancer cells. Nurses who prepare and/or administer the agents potentially are exposed to the drugs and their negative effects. Knowledge about these drugs and the precautions aimed at reducing exposure are essential aspects of infusion nursing practice. This article briefly reviews the mechanisms of action of common antineoplastic drugs, the adverse outcomes associated with exposure, the potential for occupational exposure from preparation and administration, and recommended strategies for minimizing occupational exposure.