Advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs) have slowly gained importance in the field of oncology and play an important role in the management of cancer patients. There is a dire need of oncology nurse practitioners (ONPs) as the field of oncology has grown over time and much advancement has been made.
The life expectancy of cancer patients has increased many folds due to earlier detection and better treatment options. Thus, greater numbers of ONPs are required for long term management of cancer patients. Well trained and competent ONPs can be of great help and support to oncologists as they can counsel patients, spend time with them, perform minor procedures and deliver medications. Linda D. Bosserman, MD, president of Wilshire Oncology Medical Group in La Verne, California said, “Before hiring ONPs, we were drowning in work but since taking on ONPs, my practice has more than doubled, and the satisfaction rates are sky-high.” (Davidson)
They educate them regarding their health and treatment and even perform procedures like bone marrow biopsy and aspiration, insertion of central line, lumbar puncture, Pap smear and pelvic and digital rectal exam. ONPs deal with patients of all ages, from children to elderly, and work many in different settings, i.e. private hospitals, medical offices, ambulatory care, home health facilities, etc. In short, ONPs can have a position of an educator, researcher, administrator, consultant or direct caregiver (Itano, 2005).
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