An oncology nurse is a specialized RN that works with cancer patients. There are many different forms of cancer in the modern world, and oncology nurses have to be relatively familiar with all of them to administer proper patient care. If you think you would enjoy working with cancer patients and oncologists on a daily basis, oncology nursing may be an ideal pursuit for you. This may not be the easiest sector of nursing to go into, but it is one of the most rewarding options to think about. Here is an overview of this field so you can determine if it is something you will want to work in after college.
Oncology Nurse Job Duties
Oncology nurses are responsible for ensuring that cancer patients are properly cared for, and they also help doctors work as efficiently as possible. Common job duties for oncology nurses include:
- Administering medication to cancer patients
- Reviewing charts and monitoring devices to ensure a patient’s health is steady
- Assisting doctors during medical exams
- Preparing and organizing patient records
- Scheduling appointments between patients and doctors
- Answering questions when a doctor is not around
- Changing bedding and bed pans for a patient
- Maintaining a peaceful resting environment for a patient
You may encounter several other job duties in this career path, but that should give you a rough idea of the kinds of tasks that you will be responsible for as an oncology nurse. You will be asked to multi-task and learn about new methodologies on a regular basis, just to ensure that patients are treated as well as they can be. If you feel that you can handle the stress of this kind of career, you should have a wonderful reward ahead of you.
Oncology Nurse Salary Levels
The oncology nurse salary you may earn in this career will vary based on the place you work and the kinds of experiences you have. Oncology nurses do tend to earn more than standard RNs, but that all depends on the average registered nursing salary in an area. Here are some charts that may outline some of the possible earnings you could experience in the future:
Salary by Position
- Clinical Nurse Manager: $86,248 per year
- Family Nurse Practitioner: $85,533 per year
- Nurse Educator: $67,500 per year
- Nurse Oncology: $69,405 per year
- Nurse Practitioner: $75,000 per year
- Nursing Director: $89,000 per year
- Registered Nurse: $64,591 per year
Salary by Years of Experience
- Less than 1 year: $72,696 per year
- 1-4 years: $64,414 per year
- 5-9 years: $70,833 per year
- 10-19 years: $75,135 per year
- 20 years or more: $75,809 per year
Salary by Industry
- Acute Care Hospital: $71,604 per year
- Health Care Services: $78,148 per year
- Healthcare: $72,743 per year
- Hospital: $67,961 per year
- Medical Office: $67,407 per year
- Medical Services: $66,129 per year
- Physician’s Office: $52,404 per year
As you can see, there is a very good earning potential in the field of oncology nursing. You just have to make sure you find a good employer in need of your services. The more time you devote to your education and this career in general, the better success you will have in the future.
How to Become an Oncology Nurse
If the information above has inspired you to become an oncology nurse, you will need to first go through the steps to become a registered nurse. RN education requirements will vary from state to state, but most will require you to get a college education and take a test for certification. In most nursing fields, an associate’s degree or diploma will suffice for employment. With oncology nursing though, you will need a bachelor’s of science in nursing so that you can be admitted into a master’s degree program. That will give you the specialized training you need to work in this field.
Oncology nurses usually spend six years in college before starting work in the field, but they can begin work immediately after graduation. With the advances in cancer treatment facilities nowadays, there should be a high demand for oncology nurses when you get out of school. All you will have to do is apply for a job to begin work as an ON.