Oncology Nursing Schools

The oncology nursing specialty draws a special breed of nurse. Working with cancer patients engages RNs on all levels—you must be able to provide care in many instances for patients with life-threatening cancers and deal with both patient and family end of life issues. Cancer is one of the major threats to human life. RNs, particularly Advanced Practice nurses, are on the cutting edge of patient care and wellness in all areas of healthcare and they are facing increasing demand in oncology specialties as well.

So where do you get the oncology education you need to function as a highly skilled RN working with cancer patients?

Schools of Nursing for Oncology RNs

Before you work in the oncology specialty you will most likely need at least your BSN. Some hospital oncology floors welcome new grads wet-behind-the-ears from their undergraduate nursing Bachelors. Here you get plenty of hands-on training and orientation to the particular unit in which you’re working.

University schools of nursing are the best places to search for the following oncology nursing education:

  • MSN Oncology – Many MSN nursing school programs require candidates to complete the core MSN curriculum plus the coursework for a specialty. In this case you would be engaged in oncology-specific nursing study, including required clinicals.
  • Oncology Nurse Practitioner (NP) programs are part of a larger NP program, and one of the Advanced Practices for RNs. First you earn your Nurse Practitioner degree then add on the oncology concentration that fleshes out your intended specialty. Sub-specialties include Adult and Pediatric Oncology NP. As a Nurse Practitioner you may practice as a primary caregiver, provide diagnosis and treatment, prescribe medications and evaluate patient outcomes in the short-term and long-term.
  • Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is another of the Advanced Practice degree programs you may find at a university nursing school. You study for your CNS—an expansive degree that offers terrific career opportunity-- and add on additional coursework that prepares you to work closely and independently with oncology patients and families.

Optional practice specialties include Genomics/Oncology, Gerontology/Oncology, Pediatric/Oncology concentrations.

Oncology Nursing Curriculum

Coursework within the oncology specialty for an MSN RN could include the following:

  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Management of Disease and Health Problems
  • Advanced Nursing Assessment and Diagnostics
  • Issues in Oncology Nursing
  • AIDS/HIV Patients
  • Chemotherapy Treatments
  • Prevention/Detection

Oncology Nurse Associations

Both the Oncology Nursing Society and the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses are popular professional organizations among RNs working with cancer patients. A handful of oncology nursing certifications are currently in use and recommended for RNs working in the various specialties. Contact the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation for more information and exams.

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