Oncology nurses work with patients suffering from cancer. They help alleviate the pain and suffering of seriously or terminally ill patients they help administer cancer-fighting medications and treatments and they provide emotional support for patients and their family members. Oncology nurses work under the supervision of physicians caring for and educating patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer. They administer medicine and oversee chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Prior to starting the treatments however oncology nurses discuss the potential side effects with patients so they will know what to expect. In addition they help devise ways to minimize the side effects of cancer therapy. In many instances they provide emotional support to patients undergoing treatment and when appropriate they may direct patients to support groups. Oncology nurses work in hospitals and clinics but sometimes they take care of patients in private homes. The website education-portal.com says that oncology nurses must earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in nursing and they must pass a licensing exam to become a registered nurse (RN). Some go on to earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). To qualify for certification in oncology nursing they must have one year of experience as an RN and work for 1000 hours in the oncology field. The most basic credential is that of Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) but there are also certifications in several areas of specialization (for example chemotherapy administration or palliative care). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) the job outlook for this profession is positive and opportunities should grow at an above average rate. Jobs should be especially plentiful in inner city and rural areas. The website www.payscale.com says that annual earnings for oncology nurses including overtime and bonuses range from approximately $47400 to $85630.
|Education Required:||Associate's Degree|
|Tasks:||Administers chemotherapy treatments.
Educates patients on their treatment options.
Creates a supportive work environment.
Conducts cancer screening tests.
|Also Called:||Cancer Treatment Nurse
Oncology Certified Nurse
Clinical Nurse Specialist