Oncology Nurses Know That Cancer Care Is A Challenging But Rewarding Career Option
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Lancaster and elsewhere provide comprehensive services to our clientele. Some offer general care, and others choose specialties. Our home health care nurses know that cancer care can be a rewarding career option.
All nurses face challenges and enjoy rewards in their careers. The rewards usually outweigh the demands and stress that sometimes accompany their work. Rewards include:
- Advancing and growing in their career.
- Continuing to increase their knowledge and skills.
- Getting to know their patients and hearing their stories.
- Obtaining hands-on experience in a variety of settings.
- Teaching others.
- Working with colleagues in a team.
Many cite helping others and making a difference in the lives of their patients as their greatest reward.
People tend to think that caring for cancer patients is depressing. They believe that it will leave the caregiver emotionally drained. But oncology care has many of the same rewards as other nursing.
Cancer care nurses know that their service improves the quality of life for their patients. They admit that it can take a toll on their emotions, but helping patients and families benefit everyone. Their reward is knowing that they are making a cancer patient’s life better every day.
Gaining a perspective about what’s important in life is another cancer care reward. Nurses learn when patients confide their life stories to them. They’re inspired by patients’ accomplishments as they overcame what life threw at them.
Oncology Nurses Help From Start To Finish
Cancer care nurses, aka oncology nurses, assist patients in all stages of their treatment. In addition to routine nursing duties, they also:
- Administer medications and treatments.
- Advocate for the patient with doctors, treatment centers, and others.
- Assess and monitor the patient’s health, including their mental and emotional health in addition to their physical needs.
- Assist patients in managing symptoms of cancer and effects of treatment.
- Explain medical terms in language the patient can understand.
- Facilitate communication with oncologists and others involved with the treatment plan.
- Help patients understand cancer and treatment plans.
- Keep track of all testing, including labs, imaging, and pathology reports.
- Review the patient’s health history.
- Serve as the patient’s personal coach throughout treatment, especially during difficult or painful procedures.
- Support family caregivers.
An oncology nurse must be organized and able to stay abreast of hundreds of details for each patient. The ability to remain empathic while maintaining emotional distance is another crucial skill.
Making A Difference Is A Reward Of Oncology Care
Cancer caregivers cite being “there” for their patients as a significant source of job satisfaction. They make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Their training and experience result in their patient’s improved care.
They also know that patients and their families have to cope with more than the physical consequences of cancer. Helping individuals find the resources they need for all the issues they face is part of improving care. It’s one of the rewards of daily helping individuals have their best possible life despite their disease.
An Oncology Nurse Navigator Sees The Big Picture Of Cancer Care
Some oncology nurses choose to specialize further. They become oncology nurse navigators (ONNs). Their role is to help patients throughout their cancer care.
As with many types of health care, there are overlaps in cancer care. The ONN has clinical knowledge and bedside experience. They advocate for the patient in all aspects of care, but more in terms of the “big picture.”
An ONN evaluates:
- All the disciplines of the cancer care system, from diagnosis through treatment.
- How the total system is working.
- Gaps in the system.
- Whether patients are getting “lost” in the system.
Oncology nurse navigators understand that while the system may be flawed, their role is to guide the patients through it. They ensure that patients get the treatment they need when they need it. They focus on helping individuals navigate through treatment rather than trying to fix the system.
Reducing patient morbidity and mortality exacerbated by system barriers is a primary goal of ONNs. Patients face barriers that include:
ONNs customize their care to assist patients and families in overcoming these or similar obstacles. Their reward is knowing that patients are receiving the quality care they deserve.
Although registered nurses can and do provide cancer care, many seek additional certification. The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) is an accredited certification agency. As well as oncology nurse certification, nurses may choose cancer specialties that include:
- Blood and Marrow Transplant Care
- Breast Care
- Pediatric Hematology
- Pediatric Oncology
Advanced certifications for nurse practitioners and clinical specialists are also available.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our in-home caregivers in Lancaster and our other locations tailor their services to meet the needs of each client. Career home health care nurses who meet the challenges of cancer care daily experience the rewards of their specialty.