How Can I Specialize a Nursing Degree in Pediatric Oncology?

If you are considering earning an advanced degree in nursing, you can specialize your degree in pediatric oncology by taking focused coursework that leads to certification. It takes a special kind of person to care for people, but it takes an extraordinary person to care for children who are terminally ill or fighting cancer. If you can provide patients, parents and caretakers with emotional support all while coping with your own emotions, specializing your advanced degree is the route you need to take to develop the technical skill and knowledge you need to get certified. Read on, and learn more about the coursework you can take along with what will get you noticed as an asset in cancer treatment settings.

How to Take Courses Specific to Pediatric Oncology

When you are first studying to become a nurse, you will take introductory courses that help you learn the basics of administering care. Once you complete these courses, you will take focused courses related to a specialty of your choice. Students who have not selected a specialty may choose a wide range of elective courses to immerse themselves in the field, but those who are committed to working in pediatric oncology or hematology will take credits that are relevant to pediatrics.

Currently, there are no undergraduate nursing degree programs just for prospective pediatric oncology nurses. Instead of specializing your degree, you can look for internships, fellowships, or on-the-job training opportunities within oncology departments. This is where you will really develop the knowledge and guidance that you need to deliver quality care.

Taking Continuing Education Courses in Pediatric Oncology

The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation offers different certifications to professionals who care for oncology patients. One of these certifications is the Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON). CPHON is a professional credential that will help you advance your career and go from a generalist to a specialist in the field. Before you can be classified as a certified nurse, you will need to take specific courses that will help you build beyond basic knowledge.

Continuing education is required when you are licensed in nursing. You may not have specialized your undergraduate degree, but after graduation you can specialize by taking courses in oncology or oncology nursing. In fact, you must take at least 10 contact hours of nursing education in the discipline from an approved provider before you can sit and test for a CPHON certification. At least 5 of these 10 hours need to be in oncology and not another area of medical education. If you decide to earn a Master’s degree in oncology nursing, you can use the academic courses to satisfy these requirements.

There will always be a need for oncology nurses who are trained to deal with the unique issues that arise when caring for children. If you want to specialize in a rewarding area of nursing where you can brighten the lives of children, pediatric oncology could be the specialty for you. Not only will you love what you do, you will make a decent living doing it since the salary range is between $60,000 and $125,000 per year. Earn an advanced degree and specialize a nursing degree in pediatric oncology to get closer to certification. 

For more information on specialized nursing degrees, please see: What Different Types of Nursing Can I Specialize In?