Group 3 (Fall 2009): Kaitlyn Antle, Emma Bradbury, Jocelyn Chan, Nicole Lawson

What is Pediatric Oncology and Pediatric Oncology Nursing?

Pediatric Oncology is a specialty in medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of children, usually up until the age of 18, who have cancer (Ellis-Christensen, n.d.). Nurses who specialize in pediatric oncology nursing “devote their careers to working with kids either suspected of having or who have cancer (Ellis-Christensen, n.d.) In addition to nurses and physicians, the pediatric oncology field relies on social workers, child life specialists and family counselors (Ellis-Christensen, n.d.). Pediatric oncology nurses act as care coordinators and collaborate with other cancer team members in order to provide the best care possible (“Oncology nursing”, n.d.). They primarily strive to help their patients reach realistic health care goals (“Oncology nursing”, n.d.). An advanced pediatric oncology nurse has the ability to “provide, guide, and evaluate nursing practice delivered to individuals diagnosed with cancer, their families, and the community (“Oncology nursing”, n.d.).

Pediatric oncology nurses work mainly in hospitals to give hands on patient care (“Career profiles: Oncology nurse”, n.d.). The pediatric oncology nurses that do not work in this acute care setting may work in “home health, managed care organizations, nursing schools, outpatient surgery centers, [or] clinics” (“Career profiles: Oncology nurse”, n.d.). In the United States, the salary for a pediatric oncology nurse starts at $35,000, with advanced nurses earning $60,000 to $125,000 annually (“Career profiles: Oncology nurse”,
pediatric_oncology_nurse.jpg
http://www.ivteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/child.jpg
n.d.).

For more information about pediatric oncology, visit http://www.pogo.ca/



Pediatric Oncology Nurses' Job Description

A pediatric oncology nurse provides care to children from infancy to adolescence that are undergoing or have undergone cancer treatment ("Pediatric oncology nurses overview," 2009). A pediatric oncology nurse may work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, hospice, or home setting.

The prime responsibilities of the pediatric oncology nurse include: administering chemotherapy under the physician’s supervision, monitoring the pediatric patient, developing the plan of care for the pediatric cancer patient, explaining the treatment plan to the pediatric cancer patient’s family, and assessing the physical and psychological needs of both the patient and the family ("Pediatric oncology nurses overview," 2009). A pediatric oncology nurse also collaborates with the pediatric patient’s medical team which may include: the primary physician, the oncologist, a social worker, a psychologist, a dietician, etc. ("Pediatric oncology nurses overview," 2009).

A pediatric oncology nurse has the ability to further advance themselves in regards to their education, knowledge, and level of specialization in the areas of both oncology and pediatric oncology.


Hematology/Oncology Nursing. (2007). Note: Copyright Childrens Hospital LosAngelos, 2007.
Hematology/Oncology Nursing. (2007). Note: Copyright Childrens Hospital LosAngelos, 2007.





Pediatric Oncology Nurses' Scope of Practice


The pediatric oncology nurse's scope of practice is similar to that of a 'normal' nurse's scope of practice. The only difference is that the client is specifically mentioned - namely those of the pediatric population with a potential for, have, or have had cancer of some form. The Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses (APON) have formulated a scope of practice specifically for nurses in this field (APON, 1990). The following are what the APON (1990) feel should be and are a part of the pediatric oncology nurse's scope of practice:



  1. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing is both broad and specific in scope and is concerned with the holistic care of children from conception through adolescence with the context of the nursing process."
    russian-child-in-hospital.jpg
    Russian Child in a Hospital
  2. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing encompasses children with the actual or potential for diagnosis of cancer."
  3. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing includes care of the child or adolescent and his or her family"
  4. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing encompasses all phases of the patient’s and family’s experience with cancer. "
  5. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing is based on a sound knowledge base."
  6. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing requires appropriate educational preparation and a commitment to ongoing professional development"
  7. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing requires the use of a variety of nursing roles."
  8. "The practice of pediatric oncology nursing promotes collaboration of the nurse with the multidisciplinary team."




How to Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse
from Comer Children's Hospital, available at: http://www.uchicagokidshospital.org/specialties/cancer/why-choose-us.html
from Comer Children's Hospital, available at: http://www.uchicagokidshospital.org/specialties/cancer/why-choose-us.html

It takes a very kind and compassionate nurse to work in a pediatric oncology unit. They are responsible for caring for children and their families physically and emotionally during their hospitalization (POGO, n.d.). To get involved in pediatric oncology nursing you must first earn your Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing. While in your program you must apply for a clinical placement in a pediatric oncology unit (not all hospitals will have these). This will give you a feel for the job as well as help you gain experience (How to Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse, n.d.). You will receive an accurate understanding of what the roles of a pediatric oncology nurse are in the clinical setting. The experience will also help you to meet other nurses in the specialization to use as possible references when you apply for a job(How to Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse, n.d.). Upon graduation you must write your Registered Nurse’s Exam to become certified as a registered nurse. You then must apply for a pediatric oncology nursing position in a children’s hospital, pediatric oncology office or oncology clinic. After 12 months of working as a pediatric oncology nurse you can apply for certification by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (How to Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse, n.d.). Other organizations supporting pediatric oncology nurses are the Pediatric Oncology Nursing Committee and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO, n.d.).

For more information on Oncology Nursing Certification, visit http://www.oncc.org/



References
Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses. (1990) APON scope of practice. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 7(1) p 22-23.

Career profiles: oncology nurse. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.stjohn.org/CareerProfiles/oncnur/

Ellis-Christensen, T. (n.d.). What is Pediatric oncology?. Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-pediatric-oncology.htm


Oncology nurse. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nursesource.org/oncology.html

Pediatric oncology nurses overview. (2009). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.brighthub.com/science/medical/arrticles/37256.aspx


How to Become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse. eHow.com. (n.d.). eHow: How To Do Just About Everything! How To Videos & Articles. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.ehow.com/how_4842735_become-pediatric-oncology-nurse.html

POGO Pediatric Oncology Nursing Committee. (n.d.). Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario. from http://www.pogo.ca/about/committees/nursing/