Purpose and Mission
Oncology nurses are healthcare professionals who manage and administer the care of patients with cancer. These specialists monitor the condition of a patient, administer medicines, as well as develop care plans and symptom management protocols.
The job of an oncology nurse can be stressful, but they are supported by the long-term relationships they can develop with patients and their caregivers.
The primary responsibilities of oncology nurses include direct patient care, consulting, educating patients, research, and management. These trained professionals work closely with doctors and other members of the healthcare team to optimize patient outcomes.
Most oncology nurses are employed in hospitals or clinics, and often report to a nursing supervisor or department head. In some cases, oncology nurses may report directly to a doctor leading a patient’s healthcare team.
Although most acute care nurse roles do not involve direct supervisory responsibilities, there are some exceptions, especially relating to training of new ICU nurses. Oncology nurses frequently take on management or administrative roles or move on to become advanced practice nurses.
Oncology nurses are nearly always registered nurses (typically having earned a bachelor’s degree). RNs must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) to work directly with patients.
In most cases, some prior experience in nursing on oncology is necessary to become an oncology nurse. Some general practice nurses choose to take specialized training or earn a certification to move into oncology nursing.
Responsibilities of an Oncology Nurse
The main duties of oncology nursing professionals include:
Over time, oncology nurses have come to provide a wide variety of services, including direct care, cancer screening and prevention, as well as rehabilitation, palliative and supportive services. Those who specialize in working with children with cancer are called paediatric oncology nurses.