Cancer nursing involves the care and treatment of patients who have cancer. Patients may be young or old and can be suffering from any type of cancer and in any stage of the illness. Cancer nurses may work in hospices, hospitals, or the community, advising patients and their families that are experiencing the illness and anyone close to them who might be affected by it.
Cancer nursing also involves the education around cancer, like cancer prevention and the different types of surgeries that a patient can undergo to treat the illness. Cancer nurses also may care for terminally ill patients who are receiving palliative care. Cancer nursing is sometimes referred to as oncology nursing, and it may require treatment for the emotional and psychological symptoms that one experiencing cancer has. A cancer nurse can make a difference in the patient’s everyday life with behavioral, pharmacological, and psychosocial interventions.
Cancer nurses provide and supervise care for their patients by monitoring their patients’ physical conditions, prescribing medications, and formulating system management strategies. Cancer nurses may look after patients with low white cell counts who are in protective isolation, take in patients for day therapy who regularly come in for chemotherapy, supportive therapy, vascular access maintenance, diagnostic procedures, or education and support, or they may work in outpatients departments to coordinate appointments and schedule therapy, surgery, or radiotherapy.
Because they have many duties, a cancer nurse should be competent in many areas, like vascular access devices, venipuncture, intravenous cannulation, chemotherapy management, and pain management. However, cancer nursing spans a huge range of study and is ever-broadening to face both failures and successes. Many cancer nurses choose to work in a particular branch of it, like blood diseases or bone cancer, while others specialize in radiation therapy or chemotherapy treatments. A big part of cancer nursing is educating patients and their families on the complex issues related to the cancer process and treatment procedures.
Want to become involved in cancer nursing? You will need an advanced nursing degree, RN to BSN degree, or LPN to BSN degree. Or you can learn more about these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing
» Master of Science in Nursing