Working with cancer patients is your passion.

You’ve been considering taking your oncology nursing job on the road but have been wondering about the particulars of oncology travel nurse jobs.

  • What is involved in the position? 
  • What are some pros and cons of oncology travel nurse jobs? 
  • And what about the salary? 

If you are considering pursuing a travel nurse position in the field of oncology, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will give you an in-depth look at everything you need to know about oncology travel nursing.

Table of Contents

 

oncology travel nurse salary

 

What Does an Oncology Travel Nurse Job Entail?

It has been said that nurses are the heart of the healthcare profession, and this is especially true in the area of oncology nursing. 

An oncology nurse is a Registered Nurse (RN) who specializes in the treatment of cancer patients of all ages.

Also known as Hematology/Oncology or Heme/Onc nurses, their scope of nursing ranges from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, treatment, management of symptoms, and remission.

An oncology nurse’s responsibilities include: 

  • Reviewing patient health histories
  • Documenting lab, pathology, and imaging studies
  • Monitoring the patient’s physical health, as well as their emotional status
  • Administering medications, fluids, and cancer treatment, including chemotherapy
  • Working with the patient’s doctors and other healthcare workers to formulate and carry out the prescribed treatment plan
  • Helping their patients understand their disease and treatment plan
  • Advocating to doctors and other clinicians on behalf of their patients
  • Answering questions and explaining any complex medical terminology
  • Helping the patient understand, plan for, and manage the symptoms and side effects of their treatment

Where Are Oncology Travel Nurses Typically Placed?

Oncology travel nurse jobs are generally located in mid-size or large hospitals with cancer treatment units or in dedicated cancer treatment centers such as:

  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City
  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston, Massachusetts 
  • Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio

Basic Requirements for Oncology Travel Nurse Jobs

Oncology travel nurse jobs require cancer-specific knowledge and clinical expertise in cancer care that go beyond what is acquired in basic nursing programs. 

In order to become an oncology travel nurse, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Become a licensed registered nurse, including passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN)
  • Have a Basic Life Support Certification (BLS) from the American Heart Association 
  • Hold a valid nursing license 
  • Become certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Have a minimum of one year of experience working with cancer patients in an oncology setting

 

 

Advanced Certifications that May Be Required for Oncology Travel Nurse Jobs

Registered nurses interested in distinguishing themselves from other nurses may choose to become certified in oncology.

There are 8 oncology-specific certifications to choose from:

  1. Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)
  2. Certified Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Nurse (CPHON)
  3. Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN)
  4. Blood and Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN)
  5. Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP)
  6. Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS)
  7. Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON)
  8. Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN)

These certifications may be obtained through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC). 

Certificates are typically granted for four years and may be renewed by taking a recertification test or by earning continuing medical education credits. 

Certified Breast Care Nurse

For a patient diagnosed with breast cancer, having a certified breast care nurse (CBCN) to help them navigate through diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference.

The role of a certified breast care nurse is to: 

  • Provide support, information, and education to those dealing with breast cancer, their families, and caretakers
  • Provide emotional support to cancer patients and their families
  • Care for surgical wounds 
  • Provide information on breast reconstruction and breast prosthesis 
  • Provide the highest standard of care in breast care nursing
  • Act as a liaison for all members of the treatment team, from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up
  • Coordinate patient care, including referrals to other breast cancer support services
  • Keep the patient informed of any relevant research or clinical trials
  • Organize support for patients leaving the hospital

 

pediatic oncology travel nursing jobs

 

Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

If you have a love and passion for working with children, certified pediatric oncology may be for you.

Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurses (CPON) care for children with cancer, and the position is highly specialized, requiring:

  • Extreme empathy
  • Patience
  • Excellent communication skills

The responsibilities of a CPON  include:

  • Administering medications, including chemotherapy 
  • Reviewing and updating charts
  • Coordinating daily appointments, including physical and occupational therapy for multiple patients 
  • Coordinating personal care, including bathing and feeding
  • Communicating with patients, parents, and caregivers
  • Providing emotional support for patients, parents, and caregivers 

Caring for terminally ill children on a regular basis is highly challenging and emotionally draining.

However, in spite of the stress that goes along with pediatric oncology, helping children and their families navigate childhood cancer is an extremely rewarding career. 

If you are looking into pediatric oncology travel nursing jobs, you will want to note that some employers prefer candidates who hold one or both of the following certifications:

  • Certified Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse (CPHON).  In addition to a current registered nursing license and a year of RN experience, this certificate requires a minimum of 1000 hours of pediatric oncology or hematology as well as 10 contact hours of continuing nursing education.
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) can be obtained by taking a course through the American Heart Association, or various medical schools, universities, or colleges.

 

 

Oncology Certified Nurse

Oncology certified nurses (OCN) have a broad knowledge of adult cancer care, and most nurses who are certified in oncology have OCN certification.

The duties of an oncology certified nurse include: 

  • Providing care for critically and chronically ill cancer patients
  • Providing education to patients, families, and caregivers to help them understand the disease, treatment plan, and potential side effects 
  • Assessing patient health including, physical, mental, and emotional status
  • Coordinating patient care by consulting with physicians and specialists to create a treatment plan 
  • Assisting with the administration of chemotherapy and radiation drugs
  • Monitoring, evaluating, and recording treatment results 
  • Providing emotional stability and support to patients, families, and caregivers throughout the diagnosis and treatment of cancer

What Makes an Applicant an Optimal Candidate for Oncology Travel Nurse Jobs?

As one of the most challenging and rewarding specialties in the field of nursing, oncology nursing is the glue that holds the cancer treatment system together. 

Oncology nurses are with patients during some of life’s most difficult and intimate moments, and the ideal candidate for oncology travel nurse jobs should possess the following skills:

  • Excellent communication skills to help families cope with cancer diagnosis and treatment and to communicate with doctors
  • The ability to listen well and to comfortably talk about sensitive topics such as body image, anxiety, and relationship or intimacy issues 
  • Insight into the mental health issues of patients, family members, and caregivers
  • Compassion, including the ability to be their patient’s biggest cheerleader and the ability to offer a shoulder to cry on when needed
  • Discernment and understanding of when to listen and provide support 
  • A willingness to pursue continuing education since the field of oncology is constantly evolving 
  • Emotional resilience 
  • High level of comfort when it comes to dealing with end-of-life issues such as grief and loss

The Pros and Cons of Accepting an Oncology Travel Nurse Job

Whether you are pursuing oncology travel nurse jobs or are still determining which area of travel nursing is for you, it’s always helpful to understand the pros and cons.

Pros of Oncology Travel Nursing

As with any area of nursing, there are plenty of positives when it comes to oncology travel nurse jobs: 

  • Oncology nurses have the ability to establish close relationships with patients and families who may require long-term care.
  • Oncology is one of the top recruited travel nursing positions.
  • Many oncology positions are in top-rated hospitals. 
  • Oncology travel nursing offers a wide range of specialties from which to choose, meaning you can select exactly the type of work environment you would like and the type of cancer patients you wish to treat.

Cons of Oncology Travel Nursing

On the other hand, there are a few things about oncology travel nurse jobs that may be less than desirable, such as the following:

  • Working with cancer patients can be physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding and draining.
  • Attention to detail is critical, as one mistake could adversely affect a patient.
  • Patients may be extremely ill and suffer from complications or poor outcomes of treatment.
  • The level of occupational stress can be high due to patients and family members who may be in physical and emotional despair.
  • There is a risk of exposure to toxic chemotherapy drugs.

 

oncology travel nurse

 

A Review of Oncology Travel Nurse Salary and Benefits

If you are looking into oncology travel nurse jobs, you will be glad to hear they offer a significantly higher salary than do traditional oncology nurse positions, depending on:

  • Your education
  • Your years of experience
  • The oncology certifications you’ve obtained
  • The geographic location of your oncology travel nurse position

Due to the extensive training and characteristics of the field of oncology nursing, the number of nurses is smaller than some other areas of nursing, meaning that oncology nurses are in high demand. 

This means that some facilities are willing to be more flexible with their terms for oncology travel nurse jobs.

An oncology travel nurse salary can be as high as 77,248 per year, not including:

  • Overtime hours
  • Housing stipends
  • Per diems
  • Other possible benefits, such as sign-on or referral bonuses

Currently, the top 10 highest paying cities for oncology nursing jobs are: 

  1. Santa Clara, California
  2. San Francisco, California
  3. Fremont, California
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Alexandria, Virginia
  6. Oakland, California
  7. Tanaina, Alaska
  8. Wasilla, Alaska
  9. Sunnyvale, California
  10. Waltham, Massachusetts 

If You Are Interested in Pursuing Oncology Travel Nurse Jobs, Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help

If the idea of providing care and support to children or adults who are dealing with cancer is appealing to you, Trusted Nurse Staffing can help place you in one of our oncology travel nurse jobs.

Not only are we the experts in the travel nursing industry, but we go out of our way to help each of our nurses reach their travel nursing goals.

Here are a few of the reasons Trusted Nurse Staffing stands out from other travel nursing agencies:

  • As a smaller company, we are always here to answer the phone and address any questions or concerns that may arise.
  • Our nurses have 24-hour access to their recruiters.
  • We provide prepaid health insurance, including a fully loaded HRA card.
  • We offer dental and vision plans with options for low and high deductibles.
  • Each of our new nurses receives a welcome box, complete with fun Trusted Nurse Staffing swag.
  • We have a department specifically devoted to quality assurance, meaning we are ready and able to go to bat for our nurses.
  • We have a great loyalty program, and as your employment with us continues, you’ll accumulate points that are redeemable for cool prizes.

Whether you’re interested in oncology travel nurse jobs or another area of travel nursing, Trusted Nurse Staffing is here for you.