Oncology nurses work with patients who have developed cancer and as fighting this disease. They can also work in education and assessment of patients who are at risk.
As an oncology nurse, your specific job duties will depend on two main factors: your education level and your employer. You can get started working in oncology as an LPN, though this training requires little specific education for this field, so you’ll generally do basic nursing tasks. If you become an RN or go on to get your master’s degree in the field, you’ll be tasked with more difficult and specialized duties, including education patients for home health care, helping to develop a treatment plan, assisting doctors during surgical procedures, and doing full screenings for patients. If you work at a hospice, you’ll concentrate mainly on pain management, while treatment facilities include other tasks such as tracking progress and administering medications.
Salary and Career Options
Oncology nursing is an in-demand field, as the number of cancer patients grows every year. Payscale.com reports that you can earn $52,299 to $74,205 as an oncology nurse, though the exact amount you’ll earn depends on factors such as your experience and location. Many nurses begin working in oncology after first gaining experience as a staff nurse, and in the field of oncology itself you have a number of career options if you want to specialize. Oncology nurses can specialize in one type of cancer, such as breast cancer or type of patient, such as children, for example.
While you can get started with oncology nursing if you’re certified as an LPN, many positions require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, and you can also get a master’s degree or even doctorate focusing on oncology. Along with learning general nursing skills, your classes will cover topics such as hospice care, pharmacology, cancer screening and risk assessment, and more. You can be certified in this field by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation.
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