Oncology Nurse

Job Description:

An oncology nurse is a specialised healthcare professional who works closely with cancer patients, providing care, support, and education throughout their cancer journey.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Here are the key responsibilities and activities typically associated with the role of an oncology nurse:

  • assess cancer patients, including their medical history, symptoms, and overall health
  • administer cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy
  • monitor patients during treatment, and manage any side effects or complications
  • educate patients about their medications, including dosages, schedules, and potential side effects
  • help patients manage cancer-related symptoms and side effects, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and changes in appetite
  • offer emotional support, lend a listening ear, and provide guidance on coping with the emotional impact of cancer
  • provide guidance on lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes, exercise, and symptom management strategies
  • facilitate communication between patients and the healthcare team, ensuring that patients’ questions and concerns are addressed
  • work with palliative care teams to improve patients’ quality of life by managing pain and other symptoms, addressing psychosocial needs, and providing emotional support


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine
  • science skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software
  • packages competently
  • medical skills

As well as:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions (leadership skills)
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Oncology Nurse, specific qualifications are not required. However, certain subjects and skills can be valuable in preparing for a career in nursing, especially in the oncology field. Here are some subjects and skills that can be beneficial for aspiring Oncology Nurses:

  1. Sciences: Strong grades in biology and chemistry can provide a solid foundation in the natural sciences, which are relevant to understanding human anatomy, physiology, and the science behind cancer.
  2. Mathematics: A basic understanding of mathematics, including arithmetic and statistics, can be helpful for medication calculations and data interpretation in nursing practice.
  3. English: Excellent communication skills, including reading, writing, and spoken communication, are crucial for nursing practice, as nurses need to interact with patients, families, and the healthcare team effectively.
  4. Additional Sciences: Subjects like human biology or applied science may be offered and can provide insights into the human body, diseases, and medical terminology.
  5. Psychology or Sociology: These subjects can help you understand human behaviour, patient psychology, and the social aspects of healthcare, which are important in nursing practice, particularly in oncology.

Post School


  • Bachelor of Nursing (BN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in a nursing program at the university level

These programs typically last three to four years and provide comprehensive nursing education, including clinical rotations in various healthcare settings.

After completing your nursing program, you will need to obtain nursing licensure in your country or region. Licensing requirements may include passing a national nursing examination.

Work Experience
Begin your nursing career by working in general medical or surgical units to gain clinical experience.

Stay updated with the latest advancements in oncology nursing by participating in continuing education programs and workshops.

Career Tips
Oncology nurses play a crucial role in providing care, support, and education to cancer patients and their families. Developing a strong educational foundation, along with essential nursing skills and qualities, is key to becoming a successful Oncology Nurse.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 46 to 48 hours a week, including evenings, nights, weekends, or holidays.

You could work in a public or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

Within oncology nursing, you can choose to specialise in areas like pediatric oncology, radiation oncology, or oncology nursing research through additional training and certification.

With experience, some oncology nurses may choose to move into leadership positions, such as nurse manager, clinical coordinator, or director of oncology services.