Working as a Hematology Nurse
By Danny Goldin
Nursing is one of the most recognized professions in America -- not just in the industry of health care, but in the entire national workforce. It should come as no surprise that registered nurses make up for the largest number of occupations in the health care industry at 2.6 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As medicine continues to advance, however, there is a need for more and more specialties of nurses, and not all of the nursing specialties are so common. One example of such a niche in the nursing field is hematology nursing.
What they do:
Hematology is the branch of medicine that focuses specifically on blood disorders, illnesses and diseases. As such, hematology nurses are professionals who are specially trained to provide care for patients with any blood-related problems.
Typical diseases in patients that hematology nurses care for are hemophilia, leukemia, sickle cell anemia and lymphoma, though there are a number of other diseases involving blood and blood-forming organs. Due to the fact that most of these blood-related diseases are closely connected with cancer, hematology nurses sometimes specialize in oncology treatment as well.
The main responsibility of a hematology nurse is to map out a comprehensive plan of care for each of their patients. This is done after gathering a patient's medical history and performing physical examinations. Once a plan is in place, hematology nurses will work alongside physicians to treat the disease. This often includes administering medication and treatment, starting IVs, assisting with blood transfusions, and performing other various daily activities.
In addition to treating their patients, hematology nurses also devote much of their time to educating patients and their families about how to manage and cope with the disease. The goal is always to enable and encourage patients to live as normal and healthy of a life as possible. In this regard, hematology nurses act as a support figure for patients and their families, and are always there to answer any questions and offer reassurance.
Most hematology nurses work in a hospital setting, though there are some exceptions. Other potential work places include cancer centers, correctional facilities and outpatient treatment clinics. Some hematology nurses also practice home health nursing.
What they need:
Before moving toward the specialty of hematology nursing, one must first become a registered nurse. This consists of earning a degree in nursing -- likely an associate of science in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing -- and then passing a national exam. From there, two certifications can be acquired: Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) and Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN).
What they earn:
The salary for hematology nurses is not listed by CBSalary.com or the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but, as noted, the position is very similar to oncology nurses. The average salary for an oncology nurse is $75,366, according to CBsalary.com. The 25th and 75th percentiles of salaries fall between $61,453 and $117,934, respectively.
The demand for hematology nurses is high in the United States. Given the severity of cancer and blood diseases -- and the fact that they aren't going away anytime soon -- the demand for workers in this market figures to remain high.
Copyright 2012 MiracleWorkers