Oncology nurses are trained health care professionals who specialize in the treatment of cancer. These professionals often work with terminally ill patients, which means that they need to show empathy and to connect with patients, in order to alleviate their pain and to comfort them. All the oncology nurses in the United States of America must be licensed registered nurses, and they can choose to specialize in oncology even though they have no previous oncology experience whatsoever. Regarding the certification options for oncology nurses, it must be said that these professionals have six different choices to choose from. That being said, the median yearly wage of an oncology certified nurse ranges between $60,000 and $70,000 in the United States of America, and some of the most sought-after specialty areas are radiation oncology, surgery oncology as well as haematology oncology.
Pay Scale In Different Parts And States Of The United States of America
It is not a secret that oncology nurses are paid differently across the United States of America. For instance, while the state of Alabama pays them with around $73,000 on Average, the state of Alaska gives them around $58,000, Arizona approximately $50,000 a year while the state of Connecticut pays them with $67,000 a year. On the other hand, the state of Indiana pays oncology nurses a median yearly wage of around $71,000, while the state of Illinois rewards their professional efforts with approximately $65,000 on a yearly basis.
Oncology Nurse Job Description
The primary duty of the oncology nurse is to care for the cancer patients, to monitor their overall health as well as to educate them on their health problem. These professionals can be found in private home setting, private clinics or state hospitals, and they need to provide high quality nursing care services to the patients. In addition to keeping an eye on the general condition of the patient, it is also the duty of the oncology nurse to come up with care plans and symptom management protocols that allows them to make the life of the patient easier. Given the fact that oncology nurses are subjected to a lot of stress and intense emotions when they work with cancer patients, it is extremely important for them to stay calm and to show empathy towards those with whom they work.
It must be said that the duties and responsibilities of the oncology nurses vary greatly depending on the work environment: some of them provide nursing services alone, while others also educate the patient and the family members on different types of cancer. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for the oncology nurses who work in a laboratory or hospital to conduct some research work as well, along with physicians and other important members of the medical team.
Other notable duties of the oncology nurses include treating all the health issues related to cancer, work closely with other health care professionals, come up with tailored care plans under the close supervision of the more experienced health care providers, explain the treatment expectations to the patient as well as offer supportive research to the families, in order to provide a positive outlook on the matter. It is not uncommon for the oncology nurses to also conduct in-depth cancer research in order to make the best out of the cancer treatment plan.
On the other hand, these health care professionals commonly offer cancer prevention services as well, in addition to the rehabilitative and supportive services. These professionals commonly work in sterile environments and community clinics, and they should be available on a 24/7 basis if any problems arise. At the same time, a skilled and trained oncology nurse can also implement new cancer treatment methods, monitor the evolution of the cancer in patients as well as administer cancer chemotherapy and other similar treatments. It is the duty of the oncology nurse to create a safe and comfortable supportive environment where the patient can truly feel like home.
How To Become An Oncology Nurse?
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- RN to BSN Online Option
When it comes to becoming an oncology nurse, it must be said that there are several different paths one can take. Firstly, you can opt for an ADN or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, or you can enroll in a four-year BSN program (Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing). After you finish all your college training, it is important to apply for the state license and to become a registered nurse by passing the well-known NCLEX-RN exam.
It often happens that those who become registered oncology nurses want to take their career to the next level, therefore they apply for one of the six different levels of certification available. These professionals can specialize in different areas of cancer treatment, from haematology and palliative care to chemotherapy administration. The coursework related to oncology for the certification programs typically include genetic counseling services for patients, the different available oncology treatment types, advanced health assessment as well as rural outreach.
The certification for oncology nurses is provided by the ONCC, or the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. This corporation can offer many different types of certification, from the basic level certification that is focused on adult oncology to the most advanced level certification. That being said, some of the certification options that oncology nurses usually opt for are the CPON, the CBCN, the AOCNS, the AOCNP, the OCN as well as the CPHON.
Oncology Nurse Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
An oncology nurse who lives and works in Canada should expect a median yearly wage of around CAD$65,000, while in Australia these professionals are usually paid with around Au$54,000 to Au$74,000 and in the United Kingdom they typically make approximately 33,000 a year.
Verdict On Oncology Nurse Salary
While the salary of an oncology nurse tends to be rewarding in general (although this depends a lot on the geographical location and the work environment), it must be said that not anybody can become an oncology nurse, given the stressful and demanding nature of this position.