Registered nurses working with oncology patients are not, as yet, required to successfully complete a particular certification course in order to administer chemotherapy to their patients. The hospitals and medical facilities wherein these Registered Nurses are employed are, instead, charged with the task of both identifying staff capable of performing this duty and then providing them with the necessary training to administer chemotherapy.
However, nurses who work in this field are encouraged to participate in ongoing studies on the field, as well as enrolling in chemotherapy certification courses. Due to the lack of predefined standard for chemotherapy certification courses, the following are three important things you should look for when deciding on chemotherapy certification courses.
Specialized Education Courses
Certification courses who have, as their foundation, a basis in developing the participants overall knowledge and understanding in chemotherapy and biotherapy best prepare participants for this specialized medical field. Courses like this give participants an understanding of best practices for handling hazardous drugs, treatment basics, as well as a comprehensive understanding of chemotherapy and biotherapy. These courses also provide didactic information about the safe handling and administration of these types of biologic drugs.
Things to look for in course descriptions include (but are not limited to):
•Principals of chemotherapy and biotherapy
•Appropriate use and disposal of protective equipment
•Chemotherapy Administration (including the types, routes, administrative procedures, scheduling, dosage, patient consent and best practices regarding subsequent documentation)
•Patient and family education on side effects of chemotherapy, symptoms and symptom management and appropriate documentation of the consultation
•Safe preparation, transport, disposal, storage and labeling of biologic drugs
Up To Date Resources
Since cancer research and the field of cancer treatment are continually evolving, you should look for courses that evolve with new discoveries. Look for educational programs that provide participants with up-to-date resources and information regarding cutting edge practices and holistic approaches to the patient’s overall health.
Once the training is complete, participants will have to complete a clinical practicum with an institution for higher learning for Registered nurses or, most likely, under the supervision of a supporting agency. In participating with a program dedicating to continuing advancement in this area, you can assure the best possible and most current healthcare to patients who need you most.
Availability of Continuing Education or Advanced Study
The Oncology Nursing Society offers a training course, but this organization is certainly not the only provider of the chemotherapy certification course. With the ONS, participants can elect to become a trainer, thus, helping to ensure that you’ll always be exposed to the latest developments and emerging practices.
However, with all chemotherapy certification courses, your initial certificate will likely last for two years. Some time before that time frame expires; you will need to submit yourself to renewal courses. With you working in a hospital or medical facility and often subjected to lengthy hours, you want to assure that the certification program you select not only has a continuing education component, but also that the component is easy to access and complete. Some programs now offer online renewal, giving you the opportunity to recertify without having to be physically present in another facility. With online programs, the course of study for renewal is often self-paced, allowing you the ability to complete the requirements in the time frame that works best for you.