Oncology Nurses: Hopeful hands, Helping Lives 1

It is often said that nurses are the heart of health care. For those with cancer, oncology nurses are there for patients during their most difficult and intimate moments in life, the ones at patients’ bedside, educating them, encouraging them. They are also the ones behind and on the scenes, communicating with the doctors, coordinating the care.

They are the healers, the helpers, the caregivers of all the patients, everytime and everywhere.

Role of Oncology Nurse

The oncology nurse is the one person at the cancer centre a cancer patient spends the most time with. As part of a care giving team, you lean on nurses for emotional support, information about your chemotherapy or other treatments and rely on them to connect you with an oncologist whenever necessary.


  • Often faced with overwhelming anxiety, patients newly diagnosed with cancer can find themselves in distress, nurses play a key role in alleviating concerns, leading to a better quality of life for patients.
  • Nurses are comfortable with listening for and discussing existentially related concerns may be in a better position to promote the patient’s psychological adaptation.
  • They Help Explain Treatment
  • If you feel bombarded and confused by clinical terms and drug names, thus making cancer diagnosis and treatment difficult to understand, nurses will patiently explain terms and also supply written materials to elaborate.
  • Before the first chemo treatment, the nurse can explain how it’s administered so you know exactly what to expect, which includes how it may feel, how long the treatment will take and how you can make the patient more comfortable.
  • If unpleasant side effects arise, the nurse will alert the oncologist, who can immediately alter dosages and prescribe medications to help relieve side effects that same day.
  • They Help You Manage Your Daily Life
  • New questions and decisions will emerge daily as cancer treatment takes over your life. If you’re wondering about your food intake, exercise, lifestyle or schedule, nurses can help you make adjustments and they know when to escalate questions to the oncologist.
  • If you need help picking a wig, paying for cancer treatments, learning about makeup and skincare for cancer patients or finding support groups, your nurse is a treasure trove of that information.
  • They Address Your Questions and Concerns

Since the nurses wear so many hats daily, they have the knowledge and experience to address caregiver questions by phone or in person.

Nurses are great listeners and have plenty of encouraging stories about cancer patients and caregivers who went through similar situations as you and how they handled it.

Don’t be afraid to ask your oncology nurse these questions:

  • How long does chemo take?
  • Are blood levels normal this morning?
  • Can you help us find a wig?
  • How many treatments are left?
  • Can he or she exercise during chemo? If so, how?
  • Can you help with the nausea that hits by the weekend after each chemo treatment?
  • What should we do about a fever?
  • Can you help me find a support group?
  • Are pain and depression normal during cancer treatment?
  • What can we do about that metallic taste or mouth sores?

They are always at the ready with tissues when you’re crying, courage when you need it and a hug and a high-five when chemo treatment is complete. 

Do’s for the patient:

  • Trust your oncology nurse
  • Discuss with him / her all your problems. Either they will give the solution or get it from the oncologist.
  • Talk to him or her and find out the cause of problem, if any arising during the cancer journey.

Don’t for the patient:

  • Do not ridicule a nurse. Their profession of human service is a very noble one.
  • Do not find a fault. Discuss with them if you feel something has gone wrong.
  • Do not fight with your nurse. Discuss with them

My nurse is moody, sometimes angry and does not talk much. What can be the reason?

  • Caring for cancer patients is very rewarding. It’s also a physically, mentally and emotionally demanding job.
  • Because of the stresses and challenges that come with caring for people with cancer, oncology nurses often experience physical and emotional burnout.
  • On a daily basis, nurses will have to deal with patients that require surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, while recovering patients may have physical therapy, or other treatments to help aid recovery. There can pressures involved in the oncology unit.

Try to cheer your nurse if you can!!

Key Points

Oncology nurse is the one person at the cancer centre a cancer patient spends the most time with.Discuss with him / her all your problems. Either they will give the solution or get it from the oncologist.Do not ridicule a nurse. Nurse is a treasure trove of all information
CategoryGeneral, Health

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