Oncology nurses are essential partners in helping patients navigate complex treatment protocols and manage symptoms. They have the training to assess a person's needs both in hospitals and in outpatient offices, and anticipate the needs of patients and family caregivers. Oncology nurses work with case managers and social workers to ensure that patients have the right support and professional help in their homes and communities. The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) is a professional association representing 100,000 nurses and is the professional home of more than 35,000 members.
ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and transforming cancer care. Oncology nurses are involved in many aspects of cancer diagnosis and treatment, including prevention and early detection, and management of symptoms. They not only serve as caregivers for their patients, but they also educate and support patients' families and loved ones. Cancer nurses often work in hospitals, but they can also be hired by homecare organizations, specialized medical centers, and outpatient centers. Oncology nurses are there during the difficult and intimate moments of a patient's cancer journey, providing consistent information and guidance throughout the treatment plan. Many patients insist on scheduling their treatments according to their nurses' schedules because of the strong relationship they share.
Cancer nurses are also there to provide compassion to their patients and keep them calm in the midst of a difficult situation. If you're interested in oncology nursing, chances are good that you already know a little bit about the field. You can gain hands-on experience by volunteering as a nursing assistant in the oncology unit of a hospital or in a large cancer center. You can also become a certified oncology nurse with an associate's degree, but earning your BSN will open the door to more opportunities for advancement in the oncology field later on. May is Oncology Nursing Month, so it's the perfect time to highlight caregivers who help people navigate one of the most difficult times of their lives: a cancer diagnosis. Now that we have the basics of oncology-focused nursing roles, let's discuss what oncology nurses think you need to know before starting this career path. The field of oncology nursing is one of the most challenging and rewarding fields of nursing.
If you are already a nurse and want to expand in the field of oncology, you can gain hands-on experience by volunteering as a nursing assistant in the oncology unit of a hospital or in a large cancer center. You can supplement what you learn on the job through online courses and resources, such as those offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).