Though all members of an oncology team are equally important, we cannot deny that oncology nurses who day in, day out directly provide care for cancer patients are irreplaceable in a team. Find out what their responsibilities are and you’ll understand the reason why their roles are indispensable.
Oncology Nurses Assess Patients’ Condition
Nurses are supposed to be experts in assessing a patient’s physical and mental well-being, as well as their medical history and health practices. They also evaluate knowledge of the disease and its treatment of both the patient and their families so they can keep up with and participate in the treatment plan. This will help avoid misunderstanding and confused expectations, accordingly improve compliance with treatment programs and may impact treatment outcomes as well.
On each treatment plan, oncology nurses’ responsibilities are to review with the oncologist, and be aware of expected outcomes and complications. Detailed medical history and physical examination completed by them are the foundation to formulate a care plan for each patient.
Oncology Nurses Educate Patients & Their Family
As now many cancer patients choose to shift to outpatient chemotherapy treatment, the need for precise and comprehensive patient and family education has increased rapidly. Such education typically includes:
- Assisting patients in dealing with their diagnosis, long-term adjustments, and symptoms
- Gaining information on prevention, diagnosis and care
- Developing skills, knowledge, and attitudes to maintain or regain health status
Oncology nurses often have a better opportunity than any other member of the cancer care team in approaching patients. This will facilitate effective educational efforts on both patients and their families, which is very essential throughout the therapy. Also, continual reviewing of information between them and patients will aid in the success of the treatment.
Usually, oncology nurses combine a variety of methods that best meet the needs, capabilities, and learning styles of the patient, like written/visual teaching aids, or referrals to other professionals/cancer support groups.
Oncology Nurses Provide Direct Patient Care
Oncology nurses’ duties are involved with a wide range of supportive care issues that cancer patients and their families have to encounter. The majority of these nurses provide direct patient care and delivery of chemotherapy. They ensure that the correct dose and drug are administered by the correct route to the right patient. They observe and monitor the patient, while recording relevant information to serve treatment decision-making. Oncology nurses are also in charge of providing emotional and psychological support to patients, being the most direct, and closest place for cancer patients who are in need and vulnerable.
Oncology Nurses Coordinate Care
Communication between personnel at various facilities and between patients and different nurses on an oncology team may be limited due to the distance or lacking interaction and understanding. Oncology nurses should serve as the patient’s first line of communication to the team, in order to facilitate better patient-oncologist connections.
The communication and coordination that the nurse can provide are an invaluable service to patients, as it enables continuous patient communication, early detection of emergencies, and regular emotional support.
Oncology nurse jobs are critical in coordinating the multiple and complicated technologies used in cancer diagnosis and treatment today. This collaboration includes the following:
- Direct patient care
- Documentation in the medical record
- Participation in therapy; symptom management
- Organization of referrals to other healthcare providers
- Patient and family education
- Counseling throughout diagnosis, therapy, and follow-up
Because oncology nurses spend more time with patients than any others, their understanding of patients is of great importance in caring and treating them. Their participation in cancer patients’ pain management and survival is the key to patients’ rehabilitation.