Advanced practice oncology nurses typically hold master's or doctoral degrees, often with a specialization in oncology nursing. They manage, assess, educate and care for patients either with cancer or the potential to develop cancer.
An advanced practice oncology nurse manages and assesses cancer patients. They also care for patients at risk of developing cancer, provide screenings for cancer detection and counsel patients on the prevention of cancer. Some advanced practice oncology nurses focus on particular areas of practice, such as radiation, chemotherapy or palliative care. They must have a master's degree with a specialization in oncology nursing, as well as licensure and certification.
|Required Education||Master's degree in nursing with an oncology specialization|
|Other Requirements||Valid registered nursing license required; advanced practice nursing certification often required as well|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||31% for all advanced practice nurses|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$104,740 for all advanced practice nurses|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Advanced Practice Oncology Nurse
Advanced practice oncology nurses are registered nurses who have earned master's degrees in advanced practice nursing with a specialization in oncology. An advanced practice oncology nurse not only serves as a direct caregiver, but also acts as a consultant, administrator, and educator for patients, their families, and the general public. They can work in collaboration with physicians or in some instances they provide primary care for cancer patients. Depending on the state in which they practice, advanced oncology nurses may be allowed to prescribe medication for their patients.
Oncology is an expansive field and some nurses specialize in areas such as chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, radiation, acute, rehabilitative, early detection, or palliative care. Advanced practice oncology nurses can work in ambulatory clinics, doctor's offices, cancer prevention centers, hospitals, or provide in-home care.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for advanced practice nurses of all types was $104,740 in 2015. However, salaries varied according to the type of facility and the location where the nurse practiced. Advanced practice nurses who worked in hospital settings earned a median salary of $111,080, while those who worked in physicians' offices earned a median of $104,150 per year.
According to the BLS, employment opportunities for advanced practice nurses are expected to increase 31% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than average. The BLS projected an increased need for advanced practice nurses in areas that lacked access to physicians and medical services, such as rural areas or poor neighborhoods in urban areas. Advanced practice nurses with training in a specialization, such as oncology, may find the greatest job prospects.
Advance practice oncology nurses attain graduate education and licensure as RNs. They typically need advanced practice nursing certification as well. They may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practice, or home health care, caring for an interacting with patients at risk for or with cancer. Within the field there are a range of specializations. Job prospects are good in this field over the next ten years.