Oncology is the treatment and care of patients who have cancer and nurses can specialise in this type of care. It is often the case that an oncology nurse will work in a number of different settings – it is not just in clinics and hospitals. Often, they will work in hospices and in community healthcare. Patients can be all ages and at all stages of their treatment.
It is important that oncology nurses are able to communicate well and show empathy for their patients. Those who are suffering from cancer will need a great deal of support and education about their condition and treatment. Nurses who want to be oncology nurses will need to undergo regular training on the treatments and the potential side effects of each. The treatments are continually developing, so it is important that oncology nurses stay as well informed as possible.
Being an oncology nurse means that there is a lot of work every day. It is important to be comfortable while you are at work so that there are no distractions while you are helping others. Comfortable clothes such as nurses scrubs are usually the best option along with sports shoes, if there are no uniform requirements that dictate specific items to wear. Sports bras may be a good option for some people who want the right support without being restrictive. Be sure to buy good quality sports bras that will stand up to all day wear and allow the freedom of movement that you need while administering treatments and care.
One of the main roles is assessment of patients. It is the oncologist that decides on the appropriate treatment but the nurse may be responsible for helping patients to deal with the side effects of the treatment. They will also be responsible for caring for patients while they are undergoing chemotherapy. They may even recommend sports bras for added comfort to those undergoing treatment.
Oncology nurses will often need to administer treatments to patients so they will need to learn how to do this safely. They need to be organised and pay attention to detail as the smallest thing can be very important in a cancer patient’s treatment.
The role of an oncology nurse is a very rewarding one but it can also be an emotional one. It is important to be able to build relationships with patients and their families. It is estimated that around half of people who were born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, the need for good oncology nurses is set to grow. Providing that continuity of care means that you would be in a position to help a patient through every stage of their treatment and the importance of this should not be underestimated.