Oncology Nurse Salary
An oncology nurse specializes in healthcare for patients who have cancer. This can include caring for patients who are undergoing cancer treatment or recovering from treatment. Oncology nurses work with other medical professionals, specifically doctors, who manage and strategize the individual treatment plans of cancer patients. Oncology nurses help implement these plans and educate patients and their families concerning their treatment and expectations.
Oncology nurses may be authorized to administer radiation therapy, antibiotics, chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Oncology nurses can further specialize in a specific demographic of patients or specific types of cancer. This can include breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, pediatric oncology and more. Generally, oncology nurses help patients manage side effects of their cancer and chemotherapy. They may act as a liaison between the doctor and the patient’s family in order to educate and support them. Oncology nursing can be an emotionally and physically draining career. However, most oncology nurses work regular business hours and have full-time positions with benefits.
The average salary for a registered nurse is $67,490, according to the BLS. The average salary for a nurse practitioner is $98,190. Most registered nurses work for hospitals. The majority of nurse practitioners, on the other hand, work in the offices of physicians, followed by hospitals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the field of nursing at the registered nurse and the nurse practitioner level will experience a rate of growth higher than the national average. This is partially due to the expansion of the healthcare industry. The aging population of Baby Boomers and age-specific health issues like cancer will affect the demand for oncology nurses. Most oncology nurses are employed in hospitals or cancer treatment centers.
Like all nurses, oncology nurses must earn a nursing degree and acquire certification and licensure as a registered nurse. After practicing as a registered nurse and gaining professional experience, a nurse can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing.
Earning an MSN, as well as certification from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, can lead to higher-level positions as advanced practice registered nurses. The different certification options offered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation include:
- Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse
- Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner
- Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist
- Certified Breast Care Nurse
- Oncology Certified Nurse
- Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse
For those who wish to become oncology nurse practitioners, most states require at least 500 hours of supervised clinical practice in oncology in order to take the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner exam.