Based on questionnaires, attitudes to chemotherapy were compared between newly employed nurses in oncology departments and surgical departments. Comparisons were made as they started in their new jobs and after 6 and 12 months. In total, 76 nurses were included in the study; 41 were employed in oncology departments and 35 in surgical departments. The questionnaires presented a hypothetical situation involving a toxic chemotherapy regimen. The subjects were asked to indicate the minimal benefit with respect to percentage chance of cure, length of life prolongation, and percentage symptom relief they would demand before accepting the toxic chemotherapy. The groups were well matched. On starting in their new jobs, both groups demanded identical chances of cure (23%) for the hypothetical treatment to be acceptable. Nurses ≤30 years demanded less chance of cure than those >30 years. There were no differences in wishes about life prolongation and symptom relief. The groups reported equivalent job satisfaction during the first year. At 6 months, 60% of the oncology nurses and 11% of the surgical nurses reported altered attitudes to chemotherapy, and approximately 70% of these in both groups had become more positive. At 6 months surgical nurses demanded less chance of symptom relief than the oncology nurses to accept the chemotherapy regimen. Otherwise, there were no differences between the groups during the first year. Attitudes to chemotherapy showed no differences between newly employed nurses in oncology and in surgical departments, and there were no changes in either group during the first year in their new jobs.