An oncology nurse specialist is a specialist nurse who takes care of cancer patients. These nurses usually need more clinical and advanced degrees in oncology than the average baccalaureate nursing degree program offers. Nurses with oncology degrees are considered to be masters-level specialists in oncology, although there is no requirement that they hold a medical doctorate degree or be board certified in this field.
Oncology nurses are generally employed in oncology departments at hospitals or oncology clinics. A typical oncology nurse will have been trained to diagnose and treat different types of cancer, but many choose to focus on one specific type of cancer such as lung cancer or colorectal cancer. Some oncology nurses specialize in treating childhood cancers. Regardless, of which type of cancer they choose to work with, an oncology nurse has many duties associated with her job.
One of the most important duties of the oncology nurse is to observe the progression of a patient's cancer over time. She may be asked to come in daily to monitor the progress of treatment, but she should also document everything she sees in detail. This includes pictures, notes, and written accounts of things she witnesses. This information allows her to accurately assess the effectiveness of treatments.
The oncologist nurse has a very important job in the treatment of a patient. She must take the proper steps to ensure that a patient maintains an optimal level of health. She should also be available to administer medication when the doctor orders it. She is often the one who decides when a patient is no longer eligible for treatment and when he should begin the next phase of the treatment process.
For oncology nurses, another important responsibility is to educate other healthcare workers about cancer. They are usually the ones consulted when a patient with cancer is at risk for a secondary infection. They should know when it is not healthy for patients to travel by themselves, and they should also let patients know what they should expect when they go into surgery or a hospital stay. They must also work closely with doctors to make sure that all of the instructions for their patients are being followed. Nurses are often asked to help patients understand how to take their medications, and they often provide support when a patient decides not to go into surgery. Because they work closely with oncologists, they must be able to work well independently so that they can provide accurate and up to date medical care for their patients.
If you're interested in working as an oncologist nurse, you have a number of excellent schools to look at. At Stony Brook University there are over eight campuses located throughout New York. One of them, Mt. Sinai, has an oncology nurse program which is very strong. Other schools . . . . . . include Touro College in Rhode Island, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola of Maryland and Washington University in St. Louis.