Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Role

The duties of an oncology nurse practitioner include prescribing medications and treatments and making diagnoses. Oncology nurse practitioners work closely with physicians, surgeons, families and palliative caregivers to care for cancer patients and help them through all stages of treatment. In addition to providing medical care, an oncology nurse practitioner must offer psychosocial support for the patient and his or her family. The work of an oncology nurse can also involve preventive care and education.

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice

Oncology nursing is dedicated to assisting patients and their families as they cope with various forms of cancer. These nurse practitioners are trained to manage the physical and psychological needs of the oncology patient and his or her family. Oncology nurse practitioners may provide primary, acute or tertiary care in a variety of medical settings including hospitals, cancer care centers, private practice and palliative care centers. They may also work in nontraditional settings delivering educational programs on cancer prevention and similar topics.

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Salary

According to the 2017 National Nurse Practitioner Sample Survey Results from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), oncology nurse practitioners earn an average of around $110,000 a year.

How to Become an Oncology Nurse Practitioner

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements

There are many steps to becoming an oncology nurse practitioner. Prior education, certification and clinical practice are among the many requirements of nurse practitioner programs. We’ve referenced the eligibility requirements for the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) - Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP) certification below. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to earn your certification.

  1. Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to nurse practitioner programs, applicants must have earned a license as a registered nurse. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
  2. Apply to nurse practitioner programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Acceptable programs must have a concentration in oncology or a concentration in adult, family, geriatric or women’s health. You may also consider a nurse practitioner online program.
  3. Apply to take the oncology nursing exam administered by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) to earn an oncology nurse practitioner certification.
  4. Once you have earned your oncology nurse practitioner certification, it must be renewed every four years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require continuing education contact hours.

Oncology Nurse Practitioner Certification

Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) - Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP)
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have an active registered nurse license and a master’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. Additionally, the candidate must have successfully completed an accredited nurse practitioner program, earned a minimum of 500 hours of supervised clinical practice as an adult oncology nurse practitioner, and completed a graduate level oncology course of at least two credits or 30 hours of oncology continuing education.
Renewal: Certification is renewed every four years.

Information on the ONCC certification for the AOCNP certification was retrieved as of February 2020. For the most up-to-date information, refer to ONCC’s website.

Work Environment

The work environment for oncology nurses include multiple settings such as hospitals, cancer centers, physicians offices, patients’ homes, and more. Although being an oncology nurse practitioner is a rewarding job, it can sometimes be overwhelming and exhausting for a nurse who aides patients with cancer-related illness. Working in this type of environment may place professionals in jeopardy of developing nurse burnout.

State Nursing Certification Information

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