Oncological Nurses


Employment Prospects


Oncological nurses practice in many professional settings, including AIDS, oncology, and medical surgical units, at hospitals and cancer centers or treatment facilities. Some may be employed by private practice physicians, hospice programs, or by health education centers or research facilities. Some may work as public health nurses.

Starting Out

Oncology nurses must first become registered nurses by completing one of the three kinds of educational programs and passing the licensing examination. Registered nurses may apply for employment directly to hospitals, nursing homes, and companies and government agencies that hire nurses. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, by signing up with employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through state employment offices. Other sources of jobs include nurses' associations, professional journals, newspaper want ads, and Internet job and social networking sites. Additionally, the Oncology Nursing Society offers job listings at its Web site, https://careers.ons.org/jobs.

Advancement Prospects

Administrative and supervisory positions in the nursing field go to nurses who have earned at least the bachelor of science degree in nursing. Nurses with many years of experience who are graduates of the diploma program may achieve supervisory positions, but requirements for such promotions have become more difficult in recent years and in many cases require at least the bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Tips for Entry

Read real-life stories of nurses and learn more about their daily challenges and successes: https://nursing.jnj.com/nursing-news-events/todays-nurse.

For 101 inspiring stories of nurses, read Jack Canfield et al., Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul (Health Communications, 2001).

Learn more about the nurses who have won the Daisy Award for their service to nursing, and the story of how this award came to be: https://www.daisyfoundation.org.

Volunteer or acquire a part-time job at a hospital or health care facility with a focus on treating cancer.