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Graduating with Your Nursing Pin and Becoming an Oncology Nurse

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Oncology nursing sees to the care of patients diagnosed with cancer, and it can be quite challenging, particularly when caring for those in the end-stages of the disease. Oncology nurses go beyond direct patient care, and they collaborate very closely with various members of the healthcare team in order to ensure that the highest quality of care available is provided to the patients.

After graduating and receiving your nursing pin, if you want to become an oncology nurse, or think that this specialization of nursing is the most suitable for your goals and abilities, then read on to find out more:

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of an oncology nurse goes beyond cancer prevention and direct patient care. It extends to supportive, rehabilitative, and palliative services. Nurses who work in the oncology department are often tasked with developing individualized nursing care plans for cancer patients in their care, implementing treatment ordered by the attending physician, providing counseling and education on the disease to both the patient and his or her family, administering cancer medication, and assisting in treatments such as chemotherapy – just to name a few responsibilities.

Work Setting

Oncology nurses can work in various settings, although they are most commonly seen working in the sterile oncology department in hospitals. They may work in community-based clinics, private practices, or even do home-visits when necessary. As oncology is a very specialized area of nursing, oncology nurses often find themselves working in facilities designated solely for cancer treatment.

Becoming an Oncology Nurse

In order to become an oncology nurse, you must first graduate nursing school and become a registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Typically, you would need to earn your nursing pin by completing a 3-year diploma course, or have either a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor degree in nursing (BSN) in order to qualify to take the exam. After becoming a registered nurse, the next step is to obtain experience working as a registered nurse. Only after obtaining at least 1000 hours of training as a registered nurse can you qualify to apply for Oncology Nursing Certification. Nursing students can often get an internship to see if oncology is for them.

Oncology Nurse Salary

The average salary for an oncology nurse varies per state, with a range of $39,000 to $78,000, with states like Massachusetts and Illinois offering salaries that are at least 13% higher than the average oncology nurse salaries nationwide. It is worth noting, however, that salary offered can change based on the oncology nurse’s training, education, specialized experience, and years in practice.

The Future of Oncology Nursing

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a possible demand increase of approximately 19% by the year 2022 for oncology nurses. This is comparatively faster than the growth level of a lot of other jobs all across the country. What this means is that there is definitely a lot of opportunity for those who are interested in pursuing their specializations in oncology nursing.

Nurses who work in the oncology department see plenty of suffering, which can be stressful and possibly toxic. However, this can be offset by meaningful long-term relationships that they often find themselves building with their patients and the patients’ families.



 

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