Near-future possible insurance reform may just lead to increased access for healthcare. However, any future shortage in the medical professions will surely limit this access. This is specifically true when it comes to cancer care since it is predicted that a shortage of qualified well-trained oncology care professionals will occur in conjunction with an ever-increasing older population. Medical professionals specializing in oncology will be in great demand in order to provide extended treatments that would help to increase cancer survivorship. Therefore, new strategies have to be employed for the delivery of oncology care services by increasing the roles of professional individuals, who are not physicians, a great example being a nurse practitioner. Developing well-trained advance oncology nurse practitioners is vitally important not only to meet a current need but all future needs facing a boulder growing US population. A great deal of effort in study has been developed by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and attempts to create collaborative efforts with higher education institutions and attempts to close the gap that exists between the supply of qualified oncology professionals in the demand that is always increasing.
Specialty Nursing Is a Relative New Strategic Approach
Starting in 2005, certification has been available for nurse practitioners seeking to specialize in a selected medical field such as oncology. Although certification is necessary now, certain models are going to be adopted where a nurse practitioner in the future would obtain a graduate education specializing in oncology that would prepare this individual to take a board certification test that would qualify this professional to work in the field of oncology nursing. Such competencies needed to successfully be employed in this field would be included in this type graduate program that would offer both clinical and didactic oncology courses. Additionally, alternate strategies will be developed for nursing professionals who do not obtain the required oncology competencies through a course of study but have already attained a level of nurse practitioner and will need to be exposed to facilities that will give them the opportunity to obtain the abilities, skills and knowledge that will allow them to successfully practice their chosen profession in oncology.
The Role of an Advanced Oncology Nurse Practitioner (ONP)
Since the entire field of nursing constitutes the largest portion of all United States health care workers, it plays quite a significant role when it comes to all types of patient care. The event’s oncology nurse practitioner provides significant services when it comes to primary, acute and other tertiary settings as well as being involved in private practices with supervising oncology physicians. Additionally, ONPs has started serving in healthcare sites that are nontraditional, such as being involved in symptom management and survivorship education situations as well as taking an active role participating in diagnostic and service delivery for high risk in early detection settings. In a short period of time, ONPs have clearly demonstrated that they possess exceptional knowledge and unique skills in order to deliver high quality cancer care.
A Unique Course of Study Prepares ONPs
A course of study pursued by a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing seeking specialty employment is in ONP involves education at the Masters or doctoral level. This will prepare individuals, especially nurses with an oncology background, to provide levels of care in superior fashions practicing in advance treatment situations that include not only primary, but acute settings as well as the ever-growing need for home-based cancer care. Medical professionals on a journey through oncology training will receive education in the following areas:
Oncology nurse practitioners need to obtain a minimum of 500 supervised hours in clinical practice that can either be acquired during pursuit of a master’s degree or immediately thereafter. However, these clinical hours are a prerequisite to take the certification examination. The certification to become an advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner is typically required by most states and is a recommendation requested and many others.
Oncology Professionals Needed Now and Tomorrow
All nursing careers are going to be in demand, if not already, in the near future and such a demand for an advanced oncology nurse practitioner will significantly increase in the next decade. This is due the fact that the majority of cancers appear in the population of people who are older than 55, making the need for specific cancer care problem in the baby boomer generation. Depending upon the level of education and experience, advanced oncology nurse practitioners earn salaries that are quite similar to other specialized nursing practitioners in a range from around $62,436 to $95,338 per year.