The Hematology nurse addresses disorders of the blood. This specialization has a lot of advancement potential for the well prepared and certified nurse. Many oncology/hematology nurses also serve as educators for other nurses, for patients and for families. This nursing specialty requires an individual who excels at group and one on one communication as well as the technical aspects of the profession.
Because the profession also requires an advanced Nursing degree the hematology nurse often has had administrative and leadership courses. Hematology nurses can be employed in hospitals, private clinics and in private or small group practices.
The hematology nurse can specialize even further with some nurses serving the pediatric population as pediatric oncology/hematology nurses.
Hematology Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
The hematology/oncology nurse serves as an office or clinic nurse and starts IVs administering medication or blood under doctor’s orders. Takes patient history and assists the physician in procedures. May be required to assist in researching rare blood disorders. This type of nursing will treat patients with cancers of the blood, anemia, and certain hereditary blood disorders.
The hematology nurse must be a good communicator as they are usually required to educate family, patients, and caregivers on management of blood diseases. Often they give advice on how to best cope with side effects of chemotherapy and educate other professionals in this sometimes mysterious area of nursing.
How to Become an Hematology Nurse
A hematology nurse should be committed to their career and willing to expend the extra time it takes for certification and schooling to achieve this specialty title and the fascinating job that goes with it.
Most facilities and clinics require Hematology nurses to have a current RN license. The nurse specializing in oncology and hematology must also certification in hematology/oncology. Advanced degrees in nursing help, especially if the hematology nurse wants to move up to administrative positions.
Hematology Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs
- To work in hematology or oncology the nurse must hold a current RN license. Nurses with an Associate degree can begin working in some hospital oncology units but nurses with Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing degrees (BSN or MSN) have the most advancement potential.
- Advanced degree programs require the nurse to have 2000 hours of practice in hematology/oncology before applying for admission to the school. Most nurses begin in cancer treatment centers or clinics to gain experience for certification. Once passing the necessary certification exams and eligibility requirements, you can be certified to become a Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) and/or an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN).
- Nurse practitioners specializing in oncology/hematology may be able to direct much of the medical care received by their patients.
- Hematology nurses working in a pediatric setting can obtain certification as a Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) through the Association Pediatrics Hematology Oncology Nurses (APHON). Eligible candidates will have 12 months experience as an RN (registered nurse), 1,000 practice hours within pediatric hematology or oncology and 10 contact hours of continuing education. Applicants must also pass an examination consisting of 165 multiple-choice questions. Certification in other areas of hematology is not offered at this time. Also, working in pediatric hematology and oncology does not require certification, but employers prefer hiring professionals with the designation.
Hematology Nurse Salary and Career Outlook
The hematology nurse can expect to see a better than average growth in new jobs for their specialty over the next 8 years. Nurses with advanced degrees and such as the hematology/oncology nurses will earn a better salary than those with a Bachelor degree only.
The average hematology nurse salary in the US ranges from $59,000 to $86,000 a year depending upon the level of education and certifications held by the nurse.