Duties and responsibilities
Oncology licensed nurses are responsible for providing basic care for cancer patients. They work under the supervision of registered nurses and physicians to ensure that oncology patients get the best possible care. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Educating cancer patients about their treatment options, procedures and particularities of the disease,
- Providing care for specified patients, including appropriate supportive care and administration of chemotherapy, blood components, fluid and electrolyte replacements, and other oncology treatments as prescribed.
- Performing assessments of patient care needs for new and ongoing patients.
- Providing support and education to the patients families, and significant others
- Following established departmental policies, procedures, and objectives
In order to become an LPN, you must complete an approved educational program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete. They are commonly offered at technical schools and community colleges, although some programs may be available in high schools or hospitals.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as being physically fit to keep up with the demands of the job, oncology licensed nurses will need skills such as:
- Emotional stability, as working with those with cancer can be tough. Oncology LPNs must be able to keep it together
- Written and verbal communication skills, as oncology LPNs need to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. They will also have to keep patient records up to date
- Compassion and empathy, as oncology LPNs must be caring, understanding and be able to provide a compassionate ear to family members
- Patience, as working with patients who may be terminally ill can be a slow and frustrating process
Oncology licensed nurses who work in hospitals usually work in shifts to provide round-the-clock coverage, this means that they may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Oncology licensed nurses can also be on call, which means that they are on duty and must be available to work on short notice. However, oncology licensed nurses who work in places that do not provide 24-hour care, such as out patient centers, are more likely to have regular business hours.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for licensed practical nurses in the United States was $47,480 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,560 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,360. Oncology LPNs can expect to earn within this region.
With experience, licensed practical nurses may advance to supervisory positions. They can also advance to other healthcare occupations. For example, an LPN may complete a LPN to RN education program to become a registered nurse.