Oncology Nurse

Job Description

An Oncology Nurse is responsible for the care of patients who have cancer and provide a support role throughout the patients cancer journey.  Government departments, not-for-profit organisations and private facilities are the most common employers of Oncology Nurses.  Oncology Nurses are often responsible for administering chemotherapy to patients, while managing symptoms and side affects.  They assess patients who present with side affects due to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other treatments.  They understand, interpret and explain pathology results to patients, while demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the disease, treatments and tests.  They triage patients, conduct health checks and assessments, keep an eye on treatment milestones, and manage referrals to other health professionals and service providers.

Oncology Nurses play an important role in delivering and participating in health education, treatment programs and initiatives with the aim of ensuring the patient and their loved ones understand cancer, the disease progression, treatment options and prognosis, while promoting overall health and wellness.  

To bcome an Oncology Nurse you will first need to be a Registered Nurse (RN).  Registered Nurses work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside other skilled professionals including doctors, surgeons, specialists, therapists, specialty nurses, social workers and many others to provide ongoing patient care to people who are sick, disabled, injured or recovering from surgery. 

Registered nurses deliver primary health care predominantly in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, aged care facilities, Government or military institutions, community or school settings, in the home or in outpatient facilities.

Some of the responsibilities of Nursing include:

  • Assessing, observing and speaking to patients
  • Planning and carrying out nursing care according to accepted nursing practices and standards
  • Monitoring the condition and health of patients and record their progress
  • Recording vital signs - temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar
  • Drawing blood, urine samples, and other body fluids for lab work
  • Preparing patients for exams and treatment
  • Administering medications, monitoring patients for side effects and reactions
  • Providing pre-operative and post-operative care
  • Dressing wounds, providing interventions, treatments, therapies, medications
  • Assisting in medical procedures as needed
  • Consulting with other health professionals such as doctors
  • Taking part in health education and other health promotion activities
  • Educating patients and families about treatments, care and health
  • Providing emotional support to patients and relatives
  • Supervising and mentoring trainee nurses and students

You can specialise in other roles while working as a Nurse, undertaking further studies to obtain qualifications and specialise in a particular area of nursing.

Read about all other Specialty Nursing Roles here


To become an Oncology Nurse you must first become a Registered Nurse.  You may undertake further qualifications and training in the specialty of Oncology.  Oncology Nurses also bring practical experience in providing care through clinical knowledge, skill and expereince.  

In Australia, to become a Registered Nurse, you need to complete a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing, which is available at most Australian universities.  Alternatively, for students with previous tertiary qualifications, complete a two-year Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) program.  Further study is essential if you are looking to take the next step in your career and advance in specialist nursing roles.  

All nurses must apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Registration must be renewed annually.


  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal
  • Empathy
  • Acumen
  • Autonomy
  • Charismatic
  • Communicator
  • Compassion 
  • Devoted
  • Educated
  • Flexible
  • Perceptive
  • Procedural
  • Resilient
  • Self-Motivator
  • Team Player

Key Skills

  • AHPRA Registration
  • Nursing
  • Aged Care
  • Acute Care
  • AHPRA Scheduled Medicine Endorsement
  • Patient Care
  • CPR Certificate
  • Time Management
  • Care plans