How to Become a Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

Pediatric oncology nursing is a specialty within the field of oncology that involves providing care to children with cancer. The minimum requirement for becoming a pediatric oncology nurse is having a nursing degree and passing a licensing exam. However, there is also a certification program that formally recognizes the special knowledge and skill that pediatric oncology nurses have.

What Does a Pediatric Oncology Nurse Do?

Pediatric oncology nurses provide care for children who have been diagnosed with cancer. This includes giving chemotherapy and other treatments under the direction of an oncologist. It may also involve educating patients and their families about their diagnosis and treatment options and monitoring the physical and psychological health of the patients. Pediatric oncology nurses may do cancer research and be involved in the development of new therapies. They may also help to run clinical trials on new treatment options. All of this requires a degree of special knowledge.

What is a Nursing Certification?

All areas of nursing require that an individual is a registered nurse (RN), which means that he or she has completed a nursing program and passed a licensing exam. However, the RN designation only indicates that the nurse has met a very general standard of knowledge. Obtaining a certification indicates a higher level of competency in the specialty. A certified pediatric oncology nurse has knowledge specific to pediatric oncology and has demonstrated this by passing an exam. The certification is called Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON).

How Do You Get One?

Pediatric oncology nursing certification is overseen by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. In order to become a certified pediatric oncology nurse, a nurse has to meet eligibility requirements for experience and specialty practice. The nurse must also pass a multiple-choice exam designed to thoroughly test all knowledge required. Certifications are good for four years. To continue being a certified pediatric oncology nurse after the four years, you must recertify via a combination of practice hours and professional development or by retesting.

Why Get Certified?

Becoming a certified pediatric oncology nurse is voluntary. However, it can be a good move for a variety of reasons. First, pursuing a certification shows that a nurse is up to date on the current professional practices in the field. This increases their credibility with patients and families because it shows that the nurse’s knowledge is up-to-date. Keeping up with the certification also requires that the nurse do continual professional development, which ensures that they are on top of new developments.

Job Benefits to Certification

There are career benefits to being a certified pediatric oncology nurse, as well. Certification may be required to advance to higher positions. There may also be financial incentives, like increases in salary or bonuses. Certified nurses may make up to $10,000 more a year than uncertified nurses. Nurses who are certified are also in more demand than those that are uncertified, because the certification demonstrates that they are high-quality professionals that are serious about their work.

Nurses at all levels are in increasingly high demand in today’s workplace. Becoming a certified pediatric oncology nurse will help to pave the way to career success and advancement.