Oncology Nurses work with medical practitioners to take care of cancer patients in various settings (hospitals, clinics, etc.). The job requires compassion and personal fortitude to deal with their patients' suffering from such a profound illness. They are required to have an associate's degree in nursing and an RN license. Oncology Nurses provide professional care and coordinate the delivery of oncology treatments. They also take care of patients assigned to them in a medical oncology facility and ensure that hospital or department and University policies are followed.

Oncology Nurse Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real oncology nurse resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Serve as the sole RN at practice, order all supplies, manage ancillary staff, and perform telephone triage.
  • Maintain RN staffing coverage for department and continuing education needs, recruit, hire, and manage orientation of new staff.
  • Manage patient pain relief and sedation by providing pharmacological and non-pharmacological intervention, monitor patient response and record care plans accordingly.
  • Work with social services, governmental assistant groups, and hospice to place and care for the terminally ill patients.
  • Provide hospice education and counseling.
  • Conduct telephonic triage and interventions.
  • Monitor stable and chronically ill patients using telemetry and mechanical ventilation methods.
  • Involve in the development of support/instructional diabetes management groups for Spanish-speaking parents of children with diabetes.
  • Administer chemotherapy and therapeutic medications to adult oncology and hematology patients within NCCN guidelines as well as in clinical trial protocols.
  • Perform triage, assessments, lab interpretation, hospital admissions, rooming patients, medication management, chemotherapy preparation and administration.
Oncology Nurse Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Compassion is a skill that is necessary for working with others as you're able to put aside your differences and show genuine kindness toward others.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.

Oncology Nurse Job Description

When it comes to understanding what an oncology nurse does, you may be wondering, "should I become an oncology nurse?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, oncology nurses have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 12% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of oncology nurse opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 371,500.

An oncology nurse annual salary averages $71,270, which breaks down to $34.26 an hour. However, oncology nurses can earn anywhere from upwards of $51,000 to $99,000 a year. This means that the top-earning oncology nurses make $48,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become an oncology nurse, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a nurse coordinator, registered nurse charge nurse, registered nurse supervisor, and nurse clinician.

Oncology Nurse Jobs You Might Like

Oncology Nurse Resume Examples

Oncology Nurse Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 29% of Oncology Nurses are proficient in RN, Patient Care, and Symptom Management. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Compassion, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Oncology Nurses that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • RN, 29%

    Charleston Area Medical Center Staff RN on oncology unit, chemotherapy certification.

  • Patient Care, 20%

    Provided primary care nursing responsible for total patient care including the administration of chemotherapeutic agents and monitoring radiation treatment.

  • Symptom Management, 3%

    Worked closely with physicians in symptom management and adjusted medications as needed to provide increased comfort and pain management.

  • IV, 3%

    Initiated and closely monitored administration of chemotherapeutic medications via peripheral IV's and venous access devices.

  • Staff Members, 3%

    Cooperated with appropriate staff members to facilitate a smooth discharge from hospital and a safe return to previous living situation.

  • Treatment Plans, 2%

    Performed physical assessments, diagnosed and developed treatment plans, interpreted diagnostic tests/laboratories and wrote pharmacological and non-pharmacological prescriptions.

"rn," "patient care," and "symptom management" aren't the only skills we found oncology nurses list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of oncology nurse responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for an oncology nurse to have in this position are communication skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a oncology nurse resume, you'll understand why: "registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and assess their health conditions" According to resumes we found, communication skills can be used by a oncology nurse in order to "established own patient care and therapeutic communication techniques for oncology patient and families. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many oncology nurse duties rely on compassion. This example from a oncology nurse explains why: "registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when looking after patients." This resume example is just one of many ways oncology nurses are able to utilize compassion: "delivered high-quality and compassionate treatment to oncology, hematology and hospice patients in an inner city hospital. "
  • Detail oriented is also an important skill for oncology nurses to have. This example of how oncology nurses use this skill comes from a oncology nurse resume, "registered nurses must be responsible and detail oriented because they must make sure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time." Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "assess patients in-person or remotely by telephone to provide accurate and detailed assessments to the attending physicians"
  • An oncology nurse responsibilities sometimes require "emotional stability." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to manage their emotions to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses." This resume example shows how this skill is used by oncology nurses: "provide emotional support and monitor for social and psychological needs. "
  • Another common skill for an oncology nurse to be able to utilize is "organizational skills." Nurses often work with multiple patients with various health needs an oncology nurse demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "used organizational skills to provide optimal, efficient patient care to oncology patients within the hydration area. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "physical stamina." According to oncology nurse resumes, "nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as moving patients." This resume example highlights how oncology nurse responsibilities rely on this skill: "obtained vital signs, physical assessments , medication administration, wound care and assistance with radiation treatments. "
  • See the full list of oncology nurse skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming an oncology nurse. We found that 52.0% of oncology nurses have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 9.6% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most oncology nurses have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every six oncology nurses were not college graduates.

    Those oncology nurses who do attend college, typically earn either a nursing degree or a nursing science degree. Less commonly earned degrees for oncology nurses include a psychology degree or a business degree.

    Once you're ready to become an oncology nurse, you should explore the companies that typically hire oncology nurses. According to oncology nurse resumes that we searched through, oncology nurses are hired the most by Hca Hospital Services Of San Diego, Dignity Health, and MedStar Health. Currently, Hca Hospital Services Of San Diego has 12 oncology nurse job openings, while there are 7 at Dignity Health and 7 at MedStar Health.

    Since salary is important to some oncology nurses, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Barnes Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, and Good Samaritan Hospital. If you were to take a closer look at Barnes Hospital, you'd find that the average oncology nurse salary is $123,202. Then at St. Joseph Hospital, oncology nurses receive an average salary of $114,533, while the salary at Good Samaritan Hospital is $111,607.

    View more details on oncology nurse salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious oncology nurses are:

      What Nurse Coordinators Do

      A nurse coordinator is primarily in charge of overseeing all nurses and their activities in a hospital or clinic. Their responsibilities include managing and rotating schedules, assessing nurse performance, organizing nursing programs, and developing strategies to optimize procedures. They may also assist patients and answer inquiries, studying their conditions to develop specific care plans to suit their needs. Furthermore, as a nurse coordinator, it is essential to lead and encourage teams to reach goals, all while implementing the facility's policies and regulations.

      In this section, we compare the average oncology nurse annual salary with that of a nurse coordinator. Typically, nurse coordinators earn a $14,314 lower salary than oncology nurses earn annually.

      Even though oncology nurses and nurse coordinators have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require rn, patient care, and iv in the day-to-day roles.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An oncology nurse responsibility is more likely to require skills like "symptom management," "oncology," "treatment options," and "cancer patients." Whereas a nurse coordinator requires skills like "procedures," "health care," "cpr," and "clinical staff." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Nurse coordinators receive the highest salaries in the health care industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $70,999. But oncology nurses are paid more in the health care industry with an average salary of $63,622.

      The education levels that nurse coordinators earn is a bit different than that of oncology nurses. In particular, nurse coordinators are 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than an oncology nurse. Additionally, they're 0.4% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Registered Nurse Charge Nurse?

      A registered charge nurse is responsible for supervising nurses' workflow in a particular department or area, ensuring every patient gets the proper care that they need. A registered charge nurse has the discretion to direct tasks, arrange schedules, and monitor patients, such as in the aspects of admission and discharge. Furthermore, a registered charge nurse must maintain an active line of communication and coordination among nurses, physicians, and other personnel involved as the conditions in a hospital can be unpredictable.

      Next up, we have the registered nurse charge nurse profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to an oncology nurse annual salary. In fact, registered nurses charge nurses salary difference is $13,248 lower than the salary of oncology nurses per year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Oncology nurses and registered nurses charge nurses both include similar skills like "rn," "patient care," and "iv" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that oncology nurse responsibilities requires skills like "symptom management," "clinical trials," "community resources," and "treatment options." But a registered nurse charge nurse might use skills, such as, "bls," "health care," "cpr," and "acute care."

      On average, registered nurses charge nurses earn a lower salary than oncology nurses. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, registered nurses charge nurses earn the most pay in the health care industry with an average salary of $59,714. Whereas, oncology nurses have higher paychecks in the health care industry where they earn an average of $63,622.

      When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, registered nurses charge nurses tend to reach lower levels of education than oncology nurses. In fact, they're 12.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Registered Nurse Supervisor Compares

      A Registered Nurse Supervisor oversees a team of registered nurses in a hospital or clinic, making sure that all operations are efficient and up to standard. Moreover, they are responsible for the daily management of nurses, such as when it comes to evaluation, development, and assigning schedules and patients. Aside from supervising and ensuring that everything is running smoothly in their field, they also have to communicate and coordinate with physicians and even families of patients. The responsibilities of a Nurse Supervisor is challenging; this is why they must be proactive and excellent at communication.

      The registered nurse supervisor profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of oncology nurses. The difference in salaries is registered nurse supervisors making $7,124 lower than oncology nurses.

      By looking over several oncology nurses and registered nurse supervisors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "rn," "patient care," and "iv." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, an oncology nurse is likely to be skilled in "symptom management," "clinical trials," "community resources," and "oncology," while a typical registered nurse supervisor is skilled in "health care," "cpr," "acute care," and "customer service."

      Registered nurse supervisors make a very good living in the health care industry with an average annual salary of $74,429. Whereas oncology nurses are paid the highest salary in the health care industry with the average being $63,622.

      When it comes to education, registered nurse supervisors tend to earn lower education levels than oncology nurses. In fact, they're 9.7% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Nurse Clinician

      A nurse clinician is a health expert who provides care and assistance to patients in hospitals, clinics, or similar establishments. Among their responsibilities include preparing equipment and documents, administering medication, monitoring the patient's condition, maintaining charts, and regularly reporting to physicians. In some establishments, they may also perform administrative support tasks such as answering calls and correspondence, preparing and processing documents, and organizing records. Moreover, a nurse clinician must maintain an active communication line with fellow medical staff to provide optimal services to patients.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than oncology nurses. On average, nurse clinicians earn a difference of $5,775 lower per year.

      While both oncology nurses and nurse clinicians complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like rn, patient care, and iv, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      Each job requires different skills like "symptom management," "community resources," "treatment options," and "cancer patients," which might show up on an oncology nurse resume. Whereas nurse clinician might include skills like "health care," "emergency," "heart," and "cpr."

      Nurse clinicians earn a higher salary in the health care industry with an average of $56,702. Whereas, oncology nurses earn the highest salary in the health care industry.

      The average resume of nurse clinicians showed that they earn higher levels of education to oncology nurses. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 8.4% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.4%.