The oncology nursing specialty seeks to reduce the risks, incidence, and burden of cancer by encouraging healthy lifestyles, promoting early detection, improving the management of cancer symptoms and side effects throughout the disease trajectory, and leading the coordination of complex care needs.
Oncology nurses are leaders in ensuring access to and providing quality cancer care. Oncology nurses advocate for people at risk for or with a diagnosis of cancer, deliver education throughout treatment decision making and planning with attention to individual health literacy levels, coordinate care delivery across the cancer continuum, ensure safe delivery of cancer treatments, assess for complications of therapy, help manage symptoms, optimize quality of life, support patients with cancer and their caregivers, advocate for the unique needs of patients with cancer, and collaborate with an interprofessional team to improve outcomes and reduce the impact of cancer on patients, families, communities, and populations.
Oncology nurses generate, implement, and educate patients and healthcare professionals on the science of cancer therapies, particularly as medical, radiation, cellular, and surgical options evolve to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. New cancer treatments have transformed the cancer care landscape and nursing’s role in supporting patients receiving multimodality treatment regimens. To ensure patient safety and broaden knowledge and understanding of these novel treatments, oncology nurses need to be equipped with the latest information to successfully guide their patients through the cancer journey.
This position statement supports the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) publication Oncology Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (Lubejko & Wilson, 2019), which provides a framework for the appropriate and expected scope of oncology nursing practice across settings, levels of practice, and roles.
It is the position of ONS that
Approved by the ONS Board of Directors, January 2020.
Lubejko, B.G., & Wilson, B.J. (Eds.). (2019). Oncology nursing: Scope and standards of practice. Oncology Nursing Society.
Oncology Nursing Society. (2018). ONS essential competencies and curriculum for undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing programs. http://bit.ly/2GZ4Byt
Learn about ONS’s stance on the healthcare issues that affect oncology nurses.View All Position Statements