How Do I Become An Oncology Nurse Practitioner?

Maybe you have always wanted to know, “How do I become an oncology nurse practitioner?” Being an oncology nurse practitioner can provide you with a meaningful career. This meaningful career can help you make an impact in the lives of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As an oncology nurse practitioner, you will be required to meet with a patient in a follow-up appointment after a breast cancer diagnosis.

What’s it like to be an Oncology Nurse Practitioner?

As an oncology nurse practitioner, you will be involved in every aspect of a cancer patient’s life. You may be required to help him or her during a physical therapy appointment. You will oversee the diet of a cancer patient. You may work with the same patient on a daily basis, or you may work with multiple patients in a hospital atmosphere. You should be prepared for the emotional aspect of working with a cancer patient. You can also provide some moral support for cancer patients and help them feel empowered despite a terminal illness.

Knowing how to help patients deal with the side effects of chemotherapy is another important task that oncology nurse practitioners are involved in. Oncology nurses may also educate family members about the process of caring for someone with a terminal illness.

Education Requirements

There are very strict educational requirements for those who want to become oncology nurses. In addition to obtaining a four-year degree in nursing, you should also have an associate’s degree in this specialized type of care. More colleges are beginning to offer classes that teach nurses how to care for cancer patients. A nurse should be sure to have a strong background in math and science. Pursuing a Master Degree of Nursing will also help you distinguish yourself in this career path. You may be able to get promoted to other oversight positions within a hospital with this type of degree.

Salary and Job Opportunities

There are many different types of job opportunities that can be found as an oncology nurse practitioner. One may be hired by a family to provide full-time care to a patient. One may work in a low-income hospital that helps local community members who can not afford medical care. You may be able to work in a private practice that specializes in providing care to cancer patients.

The average salary of a nurse practitioner who provides specialized care is anywhere from $70,000 to $90,000 a year. Because the work that these nurses do is so involved, these types of nurses are usually paid more than the average nurse. Nurses in this field should be prepared to receive phone calls from patients at all hours of the day. Nurses will need to be available if a patient is dealing with an emergency situation.


Being an oncology nurse practitioner is a demanding job, but it can also provide a nurse with a very fulfilling career. A nurse has the ability to become close with a patient who has a terminal illness. He or she can also serve as a support system for the family members of a patient with a terminal illness.