What is an oncology nurse?

Oncology nurses are registered nurses who care for patients with cancer. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team, in a variety of settings, and with a variety of patients. While it is often said that nurses are the heart of health care, oncology nursing is a particularly challenging and rewarding field of nursing. The oncology nurse is with their cancer patient during your most difficult and intimate moments in life.

The oncology nurse often serves as the first line of communication for patients with cancer. Each of the medical oncologists has a primary nurse, and this person will coordinate most aspects of your care. In addition to scheduling test and lab appointments, referrals to other specialists, and confirming the availability of medications and other treatments, the primary nurse will begin your education about the treatment plan. You will learn how often you will receive treatments, and what side effects to expect. The nurse will communicate any difficulties you are having with treatment, and co-ordinate any symptom management that you need.

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