How To Become An Oncology Nurse Practitioner – Our contributors use a variety of educational and professional backgrounds to create content for writers. This work was created in collaboration with one or more of our writers…
Oncology nurses specialize in treating cancer patients. Read on to learn more about how to enter this award field.
How To Become An Oncology Nurse Practitioner
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Oncology nursing is mentally and emotionally demanding but also rewarding. Nursing makes a huge difference to patients’ emotional well-being and ultimate health outcomes.
As the field of oncology evolves, there is always more to learn. This guide explores how to become an oncology nurse, including education and certification, and what to expect from this career.
Oncology nurses are RNs who work primarily in hospitals or doctor’s offices, but they may also work in home health care settings or residential care facilities. Oncology nurses administer medications, update patient records, care for patients during treatments such as surgery and infusions, and educate patients about their condition and treatment.
As an oncology nurse, you care for patients experiencing stress and physical pain. Therefore, you need exceptional communication skills to reassure patients and their loved ones. You should be able to empathize with their situation without being emotionally affected by the situation. While you can experience great satisfaction when patients recover, you must also be prepared for patients who do not recover.
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Nurses must demonstrate a commitment to their continuing professional education in order to maintain their license. A nursing license is obtained by taking and passing the NCLEX exam offered by the National Council of the National Board of Nursing. After you successfully complete this exam, you can become a registered nurse (RN), after which you can choose to specialize in oncology.
You should go to nursing school earning an ADN or BSN degree. An ADN takes only two years to complete, compared to four years for a BSN, and tuition is generally more affordable. However, many high-level cancer nursing jobs require or strongly prefer a BSN. If you cannot earn a BSN now, you may want to earn one later.
The NCLEX-RN exam is a multi-hour multiple-choice exam that covers the legal and ethical aspects of nursing practice, hygiene and infection prevention, communication, and nursing. To become a licensed nurse, you must pass an exam and apply for a state nursing license.
After you obtain your RN license, you can begin your oncology nursing career in an entry-level position. You can choose from a variety of settings and specialties, such as pediatric oncology, surgical oncology, or blood and marrow transplants. If you haven’t had the chance to find an oncology nurse in your fieldwork, you can find it now to be sure of your choice.
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Because of the complexity of cancer care, many employers prefer certification for some positions. Various certifications are available, including general oncology nursing and specialties such as pediatric hematology-oncology. Most certifications require a minimum of two years of nursing experience and 2,000 hours of oncology nursing experience within the last four years, as well as continuing education hours.
To become an oncology nurse, you can pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN). A BSN may be a better option, as this is a more comprehensive qualification and will allow you to stand out from other applicants when you are ready to start work.
Once you’ve completed your degree, gained practical experience, and demonstrated a commitment to your continuing education, you can also choose to pursue a master’s degree. An MSN degree can usually be completed entirely online, although some require an internship.
An ADN degree takes two years to complete, and most nurses begin their careers as an ADN. Most ADN programs have lower admission requirements than BSN programs. If your academic record does not reflect your ability, you may find it easier to get into the ADN program.
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However, many employers prefer BSNs. If you want to get an MSN you need a BSN or a bridge program.
A BSN degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, less if you have credits from another degree or AP credits you can transfer. Admission requirements vary by school, and some are more selective than others.
While a BSN costs more time and money, many employers require or strongly prefer a BSN, especially for higher-level positions. A BSN is also required to obtain an MSN.
To become an oncology nurse, you must obtain and maintain an RN license. While certification is not legally required for oncology nursing practice, many employers require or strongly prefer certification. Certification demonstrates your commitment to continuing education and specialized knowledge of oncology nursing.
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This is the most comprehensive oncology certification focused on adult oncology nursing. You must have at least two years of nursing experience and 2,000 hours of adult oncology nursing experience in the last four years. You must participate in continuing education or have recent classroom hours and pass a certification exam.
This certification focuses on the care of pediatric patients with hematologic malignancies such as leukemia or lymphoma. To become certified, you need two years of nursing experience and 2,000 hours of pediatric oncology nursing experience within the last four years. You must attend compulsory education or have recent classroom hours and pass a certification exam.
This certification covers breast cancer prevention and treatment. You must have at least two years of nursing experience, and 2,000 hours of pediatric breast care experience within the last four years. Certification is also required by continuing education and passing a certification exam.
This certification focuses on blood and bone marrow transplants to treat certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, hemophilia, and some solid tumors. To become certified, you need two years of nursing experience and 2,000 hours of blood and marrow transplant nursing training within the last four years. Nurses must attend continuing education or classroom hours and pass a certification exam.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre :: Craig Simon, Haemato Oncology Nurse Consultant
As an oncology nurse, you care for cancer patients at different stages of their disease. You administer chemotherapy, help identify treatment options for symptoms, and monitor progress. In addition, oncology nurses create a supportive environment for their patients. Often, oncology nurses specialize in areas such as breast cancer, pediatric hematology, or gastrointestinal cancer.
A large part of your job will be to educate your patients about the treatment options available, the procedures they will undergo, and what the disease really means. This involves a lot of studying, as you will always need to stay ahead of new developments and research.
It takes a special person to be an oncology nurse because you work with people who are at real-life risk and are often terminal. This means that you must have emotional stability for the patient and their family. Often, the treatment will fail, and the patient will lose his battle, something you have to face as well.
Oncology nurses earn an average of $75,610 per year, according to Payscale. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track oncology nursing specifically, it projects that RN jobs could grow by 9 percent between 2020 and 2030. Oncology nursing jobs are available in nearly every hospital in the United States, as well as in private practice and other health care settings.
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Oncology nurses, like all nurses, are in high demand. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1,806,590 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2020. As the population ages, the incidence of cancer will increase, increasing the demand for oncology nurses.
Oncology nurses must perform a variety of treatments under physician direction, monitor patient response to treatment, communicate effectively with patients and their loved ones, and project empathy without being emotionally overwhelmed. While helping patients and their families cope, they must deal effectively with their own stress.
Oncology nursing can be a very rewarding career if you enjoy exploring new treatments and technologies, interacting with a diverse group of healthcare professionals, and caring for people suffering from emotional distress and physical pain.
Oncology care is multifaceted. Oncology nurses work with oncologists, surgeons, nursing assistants, physical therapists, pharmacists, and anesthesiologists in their specialties. They work with non-clinical care providers such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and hospital chaplains, especially in pediatric oncology.
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Whether you’re looking to earn your pre-licensing degree or take the next step in your career, the education you need is more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you. Most of us have been affected by cancer in some way. We may know from first-hand experience those with cancer. For people in the medical profession, these experiences may influence their decision to specialize in oncology, a medical field that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
In light of breast cancer awareness
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