Nurses are considered as the health care’s heart. They are as important as doctors in a hospital. Nursing is thus becoming the popular field and fastest growing profession throughout the world. Many specializations and fields are evolving in this field. One such field is oncology that is most rewarding but challenging field of nursing. Oncology nurses are those who give utmost care to the cancer patients. They remain with the patients in their most critical situations. They not only provide care but also encourage patients.
Oncology nurses are required to have a great deal of compassion and commitment towards their work as they directly work with the cancer patients. There are many specific areas within this field such as pediatric oncology. For becoming an oncology nurse, one must have the high level of skills, advanced education, and experience.
Job Description Of Oncology Nurse
These nurses are the one who takes care of cancer patients. Their role is to monitor the progress of patients, administer chemotherapy, and implement new methods of treatment. Since they educate patients about the procedures, treatment options, and diseases, it means they have to update themselves about the new treatment methods constantly.
They work in the hospitals, clinics, and healthcare with interdisciplinary teams and physicians to treat patients. They are the primary caregivers who possess the wide variety of soft and clinical skills.
Oncology Infusion Nurse Job Description
Oncology nurses are registered nurses that are familiar with the different areas of nursing. An oncology infusion nurse is very knowledgeable in different treatments methods and oncology/hematology diseases. They know FDA approved drugs and know which drug to be given to the patients as per their report. In short, infusion nurses are multitasked and able to take care of multiple patients with same care.
Oncology Nurse Responsibilities And Duties
These nurses serve as the first line of communication, specializes in the care and perform many tasks. They perform many duties, but main duties of these nurses are as follows:
- Review the health history of patients
- Monitor the physical and emotional status of patients
- Keep records of pathology, laboratory and imaging studies of patients
- Administer medications, cancer treatments like chemotherapy and fluids
- Collaborate with clinicians and doctors regarding the treatment plan
- Educate the patient about the disease, treatment plans, and its effects
- Communicate with the patients and doctors regarding their progress and health issues
- Help in managing cancer symptoms in patients
Other than the above-mentioned duties, they have to perform multiple tasks such as they serve as the health educator and consultants, etc. Throughout the journey of a patient, these nurses play a very supportive and caring role. Thus, to effectively perform their duties and responsibilities, it is important for a person to have necessary soft skills like interpersonal skills.
Oncology nurses are chemotherapy nurse as well because they administer the drugs given during the cancer treatment. They must be educated in handling these drugs safely. A patient might have some allergic reactions to these drugs. It is the responsibility of the nurse to analyze the patient’s progress after medications. One should not carry on the medications or drugs to which the person is allergic. It is the duty of the nurse to monitor the effects of these drugs. As a caretaker, they have the very important role to play in the life of cancer patients. Thus, they are the soul and heart of the hospitals.
Those who are seeing their career in this field must have all the necessary qualifications and skills to become an oncology nurse. The person should put his heart and soul in this field of nursing and dedicate his life to serve others.
How To Become An Oncology Nurse?
Those who are interested in this career must have necessary educational qualifications and experience. The pre-requisites for this field vary from school to school. After basic educational qualification in the field of science, Candidate must complete diploma and have the associate degree in nursing and have the license of the registered nurse. Those who have completed Bachelor of Science in the nursing program are also eligible.
To get the RN license, one must pass NCLEX-RN. It is national council licensing examination. Many types of certifications are also required. Oncology nursing certification corporation, offer certificates to candidates meeting the following requirements:
- Minimum one year of experience as RN
- Completed 1,000 hours of practice
- Has an active RN license
The certificates are granted to the candidates for four years. To renew the certification, a candidate has to give the recertification test, or they can replace it by earning medical, educational credits.
There are several types of certifications also available that depends on the need for particular institutions. Total, there are six options, and among them, basic certification option is oncology certified nurse credential. Candidates having the master degree of science in nursing are also eligible. These programs mainly focus on courses related to oncology, some of the common courses are:
- Genetic counseling
- Oncology treatment types
- Advanced health assessment
- Rural outreach
Oncology Nurse Skills And Qualities
Apart from the necessary educational requirements and qualifications, candidates should have some skills that are necessary. The field requires the need for special skills and qualities as their role is very important.
1. Critical Thinking Skills
They should have assessment skills and ability to analyze and detect the changes in the health of the patients. One must be able to critically understand what action must be taken in the critical situations.
As these nurses are the primary caretakers of patients in the hospitals after their family, thus it is important for them to know how to deal with the needs of them. They should be able to handle the person in the situation of pain, tragedy, and trauma.
Nurses should be attentive as a fatal mistake in their care can cause the intense loss of the life of others. Careful administrations and working correctly with the specific treatments is vital.
Compassionate and patience nature is important to manage the emotional and physical conditions. They have to keep their personal feelings aside and dedicate themselves to giving the best care.
5. Communication skills
Among all the above skills, it is most vital as the patients are already in pain and if a nurse is unable to communicate correctly, then it will drop their confidence toward the treatments. Their families and friends will ask different types of questions; they should be able to bear in all such situations. The person must be a patient listener, effective speaker and stay calm throughout their job.
Oncology nursing is not only about good in education and knowledge related to the profession but also about being a good personality. Good communication skills, patience, managing skills and most important should remain calm under pressure.
Oncology Nurse Salary
Oncology nurses make good money at various hospitals in United States. Thus, the nursing career is good for all the desired candidates who are dedicated to serving the patients. They also get good salary package in comparison with the other professions. A person having all the requirements and abilities to become an oncology nurse is paid well. The bureau of labor statistics of U.S. provides the necessary information of careers across the country. According to them, by 2022 there will be the possible increase in need of such professionals will boost by 19%. The growth of this profession is much faster than any other profession in the U.S.
The table given below shows an estimation of their salary on the basis of hourly wages, tips, bonus, profit sharing, overtime and total pay.
Oncology Nurse Salary Description
The annual salary of this nurse ranges from $45,020-$89,069.
How Much Do Oncology Nurses Make?
The per hour salary is approx $31.22 which takes the total salary of $47,723-$90,528 a year. However, the amount of salary varies by duration of practice, experience, training, education, and specialization.
What Is The Hourly Pay Of These Nurses?
The hourly wages of these nurses in the US varies, and they usually fall in the range of $23.12-$43.49. They get different wages, for example, if they do overtime then they will get near about $11.33-$70.84. Their wages may boost up due to bonus or profit sharing that varies according to the institutions. Around 50% of nurses fall in the median of those who get $30.94 wages whereas 90% fall in the median of those who get $42 wages per hour. Apart from the hourly pay and wages, these nurses also get tips. Thus, their overall payment increases.
Top 10% of the oncology nurses earned more. These are those who are highly experienced in this field thus they are paid well. One important factor that is highly responsible for creating the difference in salary is the location where they work.
Highest Paying States
Oncology nurses get good salary package as they are the essential people in serving the cancer patients in hospitals and healthcare. Below is the list of all the states that pay well to the nurses working under the institutions and hospitals in the desired field of oncology.
1. New York
Salary of oncology nurses in New York is 21% more than paid in different states in the country. An average nurse in this profession will get the annual payment of $75,000.
2. New Jersey And Massachusetts
The salary range in New Jersey is 8% higher than any other state. If you have experience and certification in the field of oncology, then you will get salary about 67,000. The same package will be given to those working in this same field in Massachusetts.
Mississippi is also the highest paying state that offers good salary package to the nurses in this field. An excellent and well-trained person having all the necessary qualification and experience in the desired field of oncology will be paid about the average salary of $65,000.
4. New Hampshire
The nurses will get a good salary in New Hampshire that is little less than the above two but sufficient for this profession. The hospitals, institutions and health care in New Hampshire will offer the average salary of about $62,000.
5. North Carolina
North Carolina is the also one of the highest paying states in the country. An experienced and trained oncology nurse will get the average salary of about $60,000 in North Carolina.
So, interested candidates can apply for jobs in these states as per their needs. If the candidates have vast experience, then he/she will get even more than the dedicated package. Apart from the basic grade pay, candidates get additional perks and bonuses. These perks include the social security, paid leaves, paid for overtime, etc. This is the best nursing career options for the students qualified in the science subject and to get all the perks and good salary package dedication and compassion is required.
However, there are many job title related to oncology. Anyone desired in these areas has first qualified the minimum requirements and then get the hand on experience under the supervision of the experienced oncologist.
The increase in the demand for these nurses shows that how valuable and profitable this career option is. However, one should not only see the profit and payment they get in this area as the basic role and responsibility of these people is much greater than others. According to a study, employment in this field has raised by 88% than jobs in any other field.
A good package and vast career opportunities are waiting for those who have good certification, experience, and training in oncology. This is a very good career options thus one can opt for this course from the reputed institutions and pass the exam conducted to get the license. A good understanding and all the mentioned skills must be developed so that you can serve your best to give the best care to the cancer patients.