How Do I Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse?

How Do I Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse?Would you like to learn how to become a pediatric oncology nurse? If you would like to start a career in nursing, or you are already working in the field and you have decided that choosing a specialty in pediatric oncology is right for you, it is time to find out what you need to do and how long it will take to pursue your career goals.

Pediatric oncology nurses work directly with children who have been diagnosed with various types of cancer. Due to the emotional nature of the job, it takes someone who can handle caring for terminally ill children on a daily basis to hold this title. If you feel like you could offer emotional support and provide excellent care to the patients who deserve it most, read on and find out the steps you need to take to make it happen.

Completing Training and Becoming a Registered Nurse

There are a variety of different nursing programs that you can complete to eventually become a Registered Nurse (RN). You should check with the requirements in your state to learn the license requirements and to identify which pre-licensure programs are accredited and recognized. You may be able to take an Associate Degree in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or an entry-level Master’s Program in Nursing if you are changing fields and have a Bachelor’s in another discipline (please also see: Top 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs).

You should check with your state board of nursing and learn what the educational requirements are so that you can apply to sit for the national licensing exam NCLEX-RN. You cannot work as an RN without passing this exam, and some states may have additional testing requirements. Only after you have passed the test will you be allowed to practice in your state in any healthcare setting.

Get Work Experience Before You Specialize Your License

You do not have to be a specialist just to care for terminally ill patients. Before you can be labeled a pediatric oncology nurse you will need to get hands-on experience administering medications, observing patients, and working in a healthcare team. You can work in any setting, but the ideal setting is one where children who have cancer seek treatment. You can apply for entry-level positions at cancer treatment centers, hospitals, or doctor offices to develop your skills and show that you are committed to the field.

Get Certified in Pediatric Oncology

You cannot get certified and be seen as a specialist in the field until you have spent at least 1,000 hours in a pediatric oncology nursing setting. Another requirement for the Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) credential is that you have at least 12 months of experience as an RN. You will need to enroll in continuing education to complete the education requirement of 10 credit hours, but once this is satisfied you can test to hold your CPHON certification. Going a step further by earning your Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS) certification can help you advance in the field and save lives. You can earn the PALS credential through the American Heart Association.

To enter hematology or pediatric oncology nursing, you need to dedicate your time to learning how to deliver care in these unique pediatric units. Be sure to browse through the continuing education course selections, and then you can expand your knowledge by taking courses that really interest you and propel you forward. After you are done getting experience and taking courses, you can sit for your certification test and become a certified pediatric oncology nurse.