The Vital Role of an Oncology Nurse
Unfortunately, cancer is one of the biggest causes of death of our time, globally 17 million cases were diagnosed in 2018 with 9.6 million deaths. Each year research is ploughed into fighting the disease. Cancer Research UK spent £442m on ongoing research in 2018. Funds were distributed across various divisions from researching into specific cancers e.g. pancreatic, breast, lung etc, research into the biology of cancers, through to administration and support.
Thousands of people globally are dedicated into researching and finding a cure to beat cancer. However, most importantly medical professionals like Oncology nurses are the ones supporting patients every day and providing the important care they need make a difference and change lives.
Oncology nurses are vital in the care of cancer patients, they are imperative in providing not only the medical assistance required but also the much-needed support system a patient needs as they battle the disease.
As with most nurses there is the need to be sympathetic, empathetic and have excellent communication skills and oncology nursing is no different. Working across various medical teams from clinics, transplant units, through to hospital wards is a major part of the role, therefore continual education and keeping up to date with the latest developments and information is vital.
What it takes to be an oncology nurse
Every healthcare setting will have different entry requirements, normally the minimum selection criteria for oncology nurses in the UK is:
First level nurse registration:
- Five year’s post-registration clinical experience: two of which must have been in cancer, palliative care or a speciality area
- Degree in a related subject
- Evidence of specialist learning related to the subject area, or an intention to work towards specialist learning.
Of course, the education side of being a nurse is a necessity, but just as important are the soft skills. The skills that will really set you apart when nursing patients.
What you need to know about oncology nurses
Coordinate the cancer care
Oncology nurses are key in helping patients navigate the complex treatment options and help manage the symptoms and side effects of the medication. Depending on the type of cancer a patient may have, they will go through various stages and see various medical professionals. Ultimately the oncology nurse will be the most consistent person throughout that process lending their support.
Building strong bonds
Oncology nurses are key at getting patients through the illness, having so many medical professionals coming in and out of the treatment can be confusing and unnerving, so creating that relationship with the patient, family and friends can help translate complex medical information. Explaining treatment plans, being at the patient’s side to help with bad news but also there to celebrate the good milestones. Oncology nurses often continue to have a close relationship with patients long after recovery.
Being an oncology nurse is both challenging and rewarding, while oncology nursing can be emotionally and professionally taxing, it also has its own unique benefits and rewards that make it an incredibly fulfilling career.
We at Cavendish Professionals, work with some of the most prestigious hospitals, clinics, medical centres across the globe, placing nursing staff for a range of departments, from intensive care units to haematology and orthopaedic to oncology units.
Speak to our healthcare team today and discuss your career outlook, whether it be within oncology or radiology, our dedicated team are willing to help.