An experienced Chemotherapy nurse is critical to the success of any chemotherapy program—whether it is in the hospital outpatient or physician practice setting.
Where once chemotherapy administration was the domain of doctors it has been the nurse in the last two decades who is responsible for ensuring that patients receive their treatments safely. Cytotoxic chemotherapy is the main systemic treatment currently used to treat cancer. It is a treatment, which can without exception, cause extreme harm to patients, staff and the environment if the drugs are not prescribed, handled and administered safely and correctly.
Nurses have a few roles in the chemotherapy administration process: educating patients and their families about this form of therapy, administering the chemotherapy drugs safely and managing any side effects patients may have.
Any registered nurse who administers chemotherapy, or is interested in administering chemotherapy, should attend a national chemotherapy provider course, such as the ONS-sponsored Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course. The ONS course is for registered nurses with at least six months work experience. After successfully completing the course and post-test, participants will receive a personalized ONS Cancer Chemotherapy Provider card, valid for two years.
This card validates that the nurse has the knowledge needed to administer chemotherapy according to ONS standards.