The Role of an Oncology Nurse in Cancer Care

May is recognized as Oncology Nursing Month, a time to celebrate Oncology nurses for the compassionate, dedicated, and significant role they play in patient care. This year’s theme, Empowering Hope, Transforming Care, sheds light on the compassionate efforts Oncology nurses contribute to redefining cancer care. Oncology nursing is one of the most challenging and rewarding fields of nursing. Oncology nurses are present during every step of the cancer journey, and are there to educate, advocate, and support you, your family, and your caregivers. Although May is honored as Oncology Nursing Month, we celebrate our Oncology nurses at The Brooklyn Cancer Center every day for their incredible impact on treating and caring for patients with cancer, and the difference they make in our patients’ lives.  

Oncology nurses are integral members of the cancer care team and work in a variety of roles and settings. According to the Oncology Nursing Society, the majority of Oncology Nursing Society members are involved with direct patient care, with 43% working in a hospital system, 24% in an outpatient or ambulatory care setting, 11% in a physician's office, and 3% in hospice or home care. Oncology nurses might practice in medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, gynecologic oncology, or pediatric oncology.

Oncology nurses are a beacon of hope and a source of strength for their patients. They are leaders in cancer care, helping to optimize the quality of life for their patients. From providing education, to explaining a cancer diagnosis, ensuring safe delivery of cancer treatments, helping manage symptoms, and providing comfort during the cancer journey, oncology nurses are there every step of the way. Oncology nurses are the linchpin that play a crucial part in coordinating, communicating, and collaborating with a patient’s care team.  

The role of an oncology nurse includes: 

  • Patient assessment

  • Patient education

  • Coordination of patient care

  • Direct patient care

  • Symptom management

  • Supportive care


NIH: Role of the Oncology Nurse

Cancer.Net: How Your Oncology Nurse Can Help You During Cancer

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