The nursing arena is a broad field with careers that offer quick employment and job security. While some career types in nursing are known by many, some areas may be unknown to some. Read on for the job description of an oncology nurse.
What is an oncology nurse?
An oncology nurse is a nurse specialist in the healthcare field who provides support and care for all patients undergoing treatment for cancer. These nurses work under the close supervision of a licensed doctor who specializes in treating cancer or otherwise known as oncologist.
Duties of an oncology nurse
- The foremost responsibilities of oncology nurses are to render health education on cancer patients regarding different treatment options for they can undergo. Informing patients about specific details on various cancer procedures as well as their expectations on the days ahead.
- Oncology nurses are responsible in handling patients with cancer or at higher risk in developing cancer. These healthcare professionals act as advocates, administrators, educators and researchers cancer field including the detection, treatment and prevention. They may also provide rehabilitative and palliative care to their patients.
- Oncology nurses can specialize in various fields like hematology, radiation therapy, head and neck oncology, chemotherapy, gynecologic oncology, symptom management, pediatric oncology and surgical oncology.
- Oncology nurses are also responsible in providing chemotherapy on regular basis and treating side-effects that are being suffered by cancer patients, treating symptoms related to cancer and creating a comfortable and positive environment for critically ill or chronically ill patients.
Conditions of work
Oncology nurses can be employed in any medical or healthcare institutions especially in oncology departments under the supervision of an oncologist. Just like other nurse, oncology nurse works by shift and are also required to work on long periods, weekends and holidays.
Most oncology nurses are RNs or registered nurses. In order to get the title as RN, candidates need to pursue an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in or earn a nursing diploma. The BSN program is widely available in any college or universities with accredited nursing programs. Candidates may also proceed for a MSN program or Master of Science in nursing degree for candidates who have obtained their undergraduate degree. Upon completion of the program, nurses should successfully pass the state certification exam for RNs or the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse in order to practice as a registered nurse.
Occupation and Progress
The job prospects for attaining a nursing career are quite promising. General growth in the field of nursing is expected to grow about 10% until 2018, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics with median wage for oncology nurse about $61,463.