There are many reasons why people might choose to become an Oncology Nurse. Maybe they have seen a friend or family member go through cancer and it has pushed them to this career path. Maybe they have experienced it themselves or perhaps they just have a genuine interest in the subject of Oncology. Whatever the reasons, one cannot simply become an Oncology Nurse overnight – a lengthy study is an obvious part of it and there are several different ways that this can be achieved.
However, you choose to go about this is down to personal preference and circumstances but the end destination is always the same.
Where To Study?
It is worth looking around to find the best place of study to suit your individual needs, whether this be at a college, university or a specialized vocational school. It might be possible for you to gain a position on a hospital training course, which is usually a 3 year program. However, these are not offered in many places and competition for these few positions is very fierce.
The University option is usually around a 4 year dual tracked course meaning that after a couple of years the student can apply separately to nursing school and gain an apprenticeship to get more practical, hands on experience.
Due to advances in technology it is now possible to complete the study part of your degree online over the internet. This has been very beneficial to older students who might have children in the home or other commitments meaning that they cannot travel or manage classroom based learning. However, in order to complete the degree they will need to find a work placement somewhere to go alongside their study in order to gain practical experience and complete the required number of hours for the end qualification.
A student has a choice of whether they wish to gain a Bachelor of Science Degree or an Associate Degree however the Bachelors Degree is a more in depth qualification and will be worth more in terms of standing out to employers when searching for a professional position. Once you have a Bachelor of Science or Associate Degree and have been working in the field as an Oncology nurse for a while you will have the option of taking on a masters degree to become an advanced practice nurse.
You might think that once you have your degree the study period is over but you would be wrong, to become a practicing nurse you will also need to study for and pass the National License Council Examination (NCEX) for registered nurses, on completion of this you will then be issued with your registered nurse license.
The U.S. is a big place and many states have different rules and regulations regarding practicing nurses so you may find there are other requirements which need to be completed before you can gain professional employment in the field of Oncology so it is always beneficial to research these regulations before undertaking any sort of vocational or degree qualification.
Should you choose to, you can then apply for certification in the field of Oncology, this is usually not a required element but will definitely be extremely beneficial when it comes to gaining employment as it backs up your degree qualification. To gain this certification you will need to approach private companies such as the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation or ONCC as it is known.
Once you have your degree, nursing license and certification you can start approaching potential employers for a professional position as a practicing Oncology nurse and hopefully gain the valuable knowledge and experience to become the best you can be in this field.
Just because you have a position in your chosen career field doesn’t mean that your learning journey is over. It is vitally important to stay up to date with treatments, advances and every other aspect of caring for patients with cancer and so you will need to take regular refresher courses to keep up to speed with every single part of the job.
If you have to ask yourself why you would go through all of this study to become an Oncology nurse then this is obviously not the career path you should choose. It takes a special kind of person to hold a position like this, it will be very difficult at times but can also be extremely rewarding. When considering this career path do your research thoroughly, you don’t want to get through a year or two at university and suddenly realize this is not the path for you.