Austin1 Abby Austin Dr. Traci Story English 102 12 October 2018 An Increased Need for Pediatric Oncology Nurses Cancer is on the rise, and people of all ages are being affected. Some cancers, however, seem to be more age specific. For instance, there are certain types of cancers that tend to specifically target younger generations. Leukemia, Lymphomas, and cancer of the bone are all examples of cancer that appear to be more prevalent in children. (Sorrentino and Remmert 696). With this increase in number of cancer diagnoses, the need is quickly becoming great for nurses within the field of pediatric oncology. *Cancer statistics information inserted here. *Information was obtained from American Cancer Society. *Information was obtained from American Cancer Society. Austin2 According to Jo Silver, a nurse educator at the College of Western Idaho, the need for nurses could rise by as much as 50% by the year 2020. While this figure may seem a bit drastic to most individuals, the data above supports the idea that an increased number of specialists is definitely needed within the profession. Pediatric oncology nurses work specifically with children who have cancer. Oncology nurses must obtain the same RN degree, as do traditional nurses, however, most choose to continue their education by obtaining advanced certifications. For example, successful completion of exams such as the Certified Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse (CPHON) or the Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNP), enable them to specialize in the field. While a sweet, gentle personality is often considered a great characteristic among nurses, strength is by far the most important of possessions. An oncology nurse must be emotionally stable and possess the ability to cope when a patient is lost (Gap Medics par. 6). Oncology nurses usually spend a great deal of time with their patients. As a result, they become familiar with oncology families and get to know each one personally. Quite often, treatments last for months and months, if not years. Relationships between nursing staff and their young patients are formed, and personal attachments make the clinic environment feels very much like a close-knit family. There are also many other responsibilities for a pediatric oncology nurse to consider. For instance, because there are so many different types of cancers, with different procedures and approaches to treatments, it is important for an oncology nurse to stay up to date and knowledgeable on the different types of cancer and the treatment options available for each one (Nurse Journal par. 15). Additionally, an oncology nurse must possess a strong knowledge of all the different types of treatment drugs and be aware of their side effects. Oftentimes, treatment programs are designed to follow research trials; therefore, oncology nurses must also be reasonably knowledgeable about any experimental drugs their patients are prescribed. Good communication skills are necessary for all nurses in general, but especially for those who work in pediatric oncology. In order for communication to be effective, a pediatric oncology nurse must possess the ability to communicate with a young patient and explain their diagnosis on a level they are able to understand (Gap Medics par. 8). Nurses within the pediatric field need to be able to identify with their patients on an age appropriate level. It is important that they connect emotionally, so a better understanding of the diagnosis can be provided. Probably one of the most challenging aspects of being a pediatric nurse, is communicating with the patient as well as their parents, and that is not always an easy balance. While it is oftentimes a requirement that oncology nurses obtain additional training, some employers offer benefits to help offset the costs of these additional certifications. For example, it is becoming more and more common for employers to provide monetary reimbursement as an incentive to those employees who are willing to pursue higher or ongoing education. In addition, oncology nurses tend to earn more per hour than traditional nurses. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a typical RN can expect to earn somewhere in the ballpark of $65,000-$70,000 per year (Gap Medics par. 13), whereas a nurse who specializes in the field of oncology can look forward to a yearly income of upwards to $90,000 (Nurse.org par. 2). Nurses who pursue a higher level of education, for example, receive a master’s degree or obtain multiple Austin3 certifications, set themselves apart from others within the nursing community and typically enjoy a sense of satisfaction and feel they are contributing more to the medical field. Several options are available for those who are interested in becoming a registered nurse. The Northwest, in fact, is a hub for up and coming 4-year nursing programs. For example, Washington State University and Northwest Nazarene University are ranked among the top 10 for nursing schools throughout the West (BMSND par. 12&15). Check out the chart below for other local options in reputable nursing programs. Top 10 Nursing Schools in the West #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 Washinton University State of San University Diego New Northwest Point Loma California Mexico Nazarene Nazarene State State University University Univesity University Nevada State College Simpson University Seattle Gonzaga Pacific University University #7 #8 *Information was obtained from Best Master of Science in Nursing Degrees. For individuals who have already obtained either an RN or BSN degree but are looking to further their education in the oncology field, schools are available that offer master’s degrees in nursing with a focus on pediatric oncology. For instance, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Colombia University School of Nursing are two examples of schools that offer a nursing program specifically designed with an emphasis in pediatric oncology. When considering a career in the field of oncology, another incentive can be found in the number of hospitals across the country that specialize in research and treatment of childhood cancers. Dozens of hospitals and clinics across the U.S are looking to employ nurses with specialized training. Take a look at the chart below, which depicts a list of the top 10 childhood cancer treatment facilities. Austin4 Top 10 Pediatric Oncology Hospitals #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 *Information was obtained from U.S. News & Worldwide Report. A majority of these hospitals, if not all, are bound to be quite large, so it is understandable if some individuals consider them unsuitable places of employment. However, there are dozens and dozens of smaller facilities, all throughout the country, looking to add qualified nurses to their team of childhood cancer specialists. The vast number of cancer research centers across the U.S. is a direct indication of our countries growing cancer crisis, and it certainly depicts an increased need for qualified nurses in the field of pediatric oncology. *Insert cancer research/treatment information here. Identify the difference between cancer diagnosis figures and death rates because they are two entirely different things. Austin5 *Information was obtained from American Cancer Society. Advancements in cancer research have certainly paved the way for some pretty impressive success rates among cancer patients. However, not all treatments are successful. It takes a special kind of nurse to work in oncology, and the job is certainly not for everyone. It would be understandably hard to open oneself up and become emotionally invested in such a young patient, especially when that child is faced with a terminal illness. This alone makes the need even greater, for those nurses who feel capable, to contribute to the field of pediatric oncology. Works Cited American Cancer Society. “Cancer facts & figures 2018.” 2018. Retrieved 2018 14 Oct., cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures2018.html Best Master of Science in Nursing Degrees. “Top 10 Up and Coming Nursing Schools in the West for 2017.” 2017. Retrieval 2018 9 Oct., bestmasterofscienceinnursing.com/best/upand-coming-nursing-schools-in-the-west/. Hamilton, Bridget. Gap Medics Blog. “Working as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse.” Retrieval 2018 8 Oct., gapmedics.com/blog/2016/06/03/working-as-a-pedc-oncology-nurse/. Nurse Journal. Social Community for Nurses Worldwide. “How to Become an Oncology Nurse.” 2018. Retrieval 2018 8 Oct., nursejournal.org/oncology-nursing/how-to-become-anoncology-nurse/. Nurse.org. “Oncology Nurse Salary and Career Opportunities.” 2015. Retrieved 2018 13 Oct., nurse.org/articles/oncology-nurse-salary-and-career-opportunities/. Silver, Jo. Personal interview. 1 Oct. 2018. Sorrentino, Sheila A. and Remmert, Leighann N. Mosby’s Textbook for Nursing Assistants. 9th ed. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 2017. Print. Twomey, Brooke. Personal interview. 10 Oct. 2018. U.S. News & Worldwide Report. “Best Hospitals for Pediatric Cancer.” 2018. Retrieval 2018 8 Oct., health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings/cancer.