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Nurses play a significant role in oncology nursing as the practice entails the roles of direct caregivers, educators, psychosocial support, consultants, supervisor, and researchers. Health promotion in the nursing field enhances the patient’s enthusiasm towards maximum health status, while altering their lifestyle to achieve self-motivated stability of bodily, poignant, collective, divine, and logical health. Lifestyle changes can be achieved through learning experiences that promote awareness and boost the patient’s motivation. Furthermore, by exposing families and patients to opportunities and environment that makes it easy to participate in healthy practices serves as the means to the same end. Thus, this research paper aims at elaborating on the role of oncology nursing in availing care to cancer patients and families during treatment and the challenges they encounter. It also discusses the initiatives through which suffering and death due to cancer should be eliminated.

Oncology nurses offer specialist care to patients with cancer and this is extended to the patient’s families as he/she moves along the disease path starting with diagnosis to treatment and health restoration. Alternatively, the patient may enter remission, to relapse, and eventually death. Thus, the nurses should employ the nursing process in assessing the patient’s needs as well as the family needs as identified in the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) (Wilkes & Burkes, 2013). These include early detection and prevention, providing the patients and families with the necessary information on how to cope, the right diet, and how to protect the family members. Additionally, it is imperative to assess their mobility, sexuality, and ventilation of the patients’ rooms while making sure they are properly oxygenated. More so, the nurse should identify alternative and complementary therapies, palliative, and end of life care and survivorship. Additionally, in a bid to improve and defeat cancer, the oncology nurses should use factors such as communication, community development, education on better health practices, and organizing workshop to educate the patients and families on better health practices (Forshaw, 2016). [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]

Role of oncology nursing
Oncology nurses’ primary concern is the well-being of the cancer patients and their respective families by offering physical and emotional support. Cancer care requires a committed team of healthcare expert with absolute knowledge, clinical skills, and opinionated and in-depth understanding of the needs of cancer patients (Barton, Wilkes, & Ingwersen, 2001). More so, for oncology nurses to be competent in their roles, it is imperative for them to work hand in hand with the physicians, nutritionists, pharmacists, psychologists, spiritual leaders and psychiatrists in providing comprehensive care to the patients as well as their families.

According to Barton, Wilkes and Ingwersen (2001), Oncology nursing roles vary from focusing on cancer patients’ care, community screening, detection, and cancer prevention. Additionally, nurses perform an assessment of the patient who has cancer while educating them on ways to cope with the disease. It is through provision of direct patient care that nurses are able to manage cancer symptoms while providing supportive care to the patients and their families. In addition, other oncology nurses focus on improving patients care by carrying out cancer-related research conducted through clinical trials. In situations wherein care is afforded to the cancer patient, the oncology nurse has the responsibility of guaranteeing round the clock care to the patient’s “direct-care” through monitoring and observation while documenting patient’s assessment, judgments and the intervention methods used. Notably, it is the role of the oncology nurse to avail to the patients and families with accurate and consistent information regarding the course of treatment, the methods of administration, and the potential risks that might arise due to the side effects.

Further, oncology nurses play the role of patient’s advocates. They assist them in making clear, and concise decisions regarding treatments based on the patient’s goals, values, and communicating these decisions to the medical team. Precisely, it is the role of the oncology nurses to listen to and make their patients comfortable in voicing out their fears and anxieties. In addition, oncology nurses plays an important role in the research setting as he/she assists the patients in understanding the purpose of the procedure, benefits, and risks associated with it while making them aware of the impact of the procedure or treatment on their lifestyle (Barton, Wilkes &  Ingwersen, 2001).[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Challenges Facing Oncology Nursing
Difficulty in collaborating with the various organizations specializing in the field of oncology is the main challenge facing this field of nursing. In addition, the increasing knowledge of on the safety and efficiency of the chemotherapeutic agents is a common challenge in oncology nursing as nurses are forced to administer chemotherapy in outpatient clinics, oncologists’ office, or the patient’s’ home environment. This presents oncologist with the difficulty of working with the chemotherapeutics agents in a similar manner as the research nurses and inpatient medical nurses (Barton-Burke, Wilkes, Ingwersen, & Barton-Burke, 2001).

Ethically, oncology nursing is facing a range of challenges ranging from moral uncertainty, moral dilemma, and moral suffering. The moral dilemma is a situation where the nurse is uncertain of the prognosis given to the patient by the attending physicians, thus, to avoid confusion, the nurse is forced to withhold information. Moral dilemma refers to the doctors’ aim on prolonging patient’s physiological life without considering life’s quality and disregarding the significance of informing the patient or his family thus leaving the burden to the oncology nurse.

According to Grundy (2006) body image is a challenge observed in many patients as they undergo cancer treatment especially from surgeries and chemotherapy their body structure is subject to alteration and these changes have an impact on their self-image, confidence, and sexuality confidence.

Health promotion in oncology nursing
Several health promotion strategies can be implemented in assisting cancer patients to improve their overall health conditions. These include participating in physical activities, offering nutritional support (Varricchio, 2004). Consequently, management of their healthcare providers and medical regimens while adjusting their lifestyle. Physical activities comprise of taking strolls, riding bikes, and swimming while the nutritionist advised them on the significance of eating fruits, vegetables, diet supplements, and avoidance of foods with additives.

Varrichio (2004) asserts that access to health care and medication is of paramount to the cancer patient. Thus, an emphasis is placed on communication, as it is fundamental in coordinating care among consultant and cancer- care providers as the patient moves through the trajectory of cancer treatment and beyond. Finally, in a bid to promote their health, cancer patients are advised to perform some adjustment in their lifestyle such as stress avoidance, energy conservation, and requesting for assistance. Stress and energy conservation is achieved when the patient participates in activities such as yoga, relaxation exercises, and acupuncture.

In conclusion, it is imperative for nurses to educate the community on the importance of undergoing the cancer-screening process. The process gives nurses an opportunity to educate individuals on the necessary behaviors in reducing risks, and the symptoms to watch out for. Thus, giving nurses greater chances of detecting cancer-related disease in its early stages and warranting better chances of outliving the disease as opposed to the later stages, thus, lowering cancer death rate. Additionally, nurses and physicians should have a clear line of communication to avoid misinforming the patients on their prognosis and finally, patients and families should be educated on health promotion strategies.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]


Barton. B. M., Wilkes. G., & Ingwersen, K., (2001). Cancer chemotherapy: a nursing process 
approach (3rd ed., pp. 18-20). Sudbury:  Jones and Bartlett Publishers

Grundy, M, (2006). Nursing in hematological oncology. (2nd ed., pp. 464- 467). Edinburgh:
Baillie`re Tindall Elsevier

Forshaw, M, (2016). Principles of Health Promotion: International Journal of Health Promotion 
and Education, 54 (4): 204

Wilkes. G., & Burke. M. (2013). Oncology nursing drug handbook Cincinnati, Ohio: Jones &
Bartlett Learning

Varricchio, C. (2004). A cancer source book for nurses. (8th ed., pp. 45-49). Sudbury, Mass:
Jones and Bartlett Publishers

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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