Congratulations to Minnesota Oncology nurses Carrie Williams and Sarah Kruell on earning their Oncology Nursing Certification earlier this year!
What is an oncology certified nurse?
Certified oncology nurses have proven their knowledge of cancer care by passing a test. The test is a hard one. It is meant to be hard so it will ensure that nurses who pass it have in-depth knowledge of cancer care. Before they can take the test, these nurses must have experience as cancer nurses. And, they must have completed educational programs where they learned more about cancer care.
We asked Carrie and Sarah to tell us more about what is means to be an oncology certified nurse. Here are their responses:
Why did you decide to pursue the certification?
Carrie: When I started as a new grad in oncology 9 years ago, I knew it was where I belonged. I had always envisioned the certification as part of my career trajectory but felt slightly intimidated by taking the test & slipped into using the excuses of being busy with kids. I finally decided that this was the year I needed to stop the excuses & get things done!
Sarah: I have wanted to pursue my OCN for years but was nervous that I wouldn’t have the experience helpful to pass the exam. When I transitioned from the hospital setting where I took care of patients with a variety of diagnoses to working with only oncology patients, I thought it was the perfect time to take the test.
What does it mean to you to be certified in oncology nursing?
Carrie: I know a lot of really great oncology nurses that are not certified so I don’t necessarily think it is a reflection of the level of skill or knowledge. I see it more as a level of commitment to stay current with the rapidly growing & changing field with increased continuing education requirements as well as recognition for demonstrating a comprehensive knowledge base through the standardized test.
Sarah: The certification enhances my knowledge of the oncology population to help me better assist our patients as they navigate through symptoms that are associated with their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. Although patients may not realize that nurses are certified, they will ultimately benefit from care provided by a team with the expertise and knowledge specific to the complex world of cancer care.
How long have you been a nurse?
Carrie: 9 years
Sarah: 8 years
How long have you working in oncology?
Carrie: 8 years
Sarah: I’ve worked with oncology patients since I graduated 8 years ago. I also completed an internship in oncology and worked on an inpatient oncology unit during my last year of nursing school.
How long have you been with Minnesota Oncology?
Carrie: Nearly 4 years total
Sarah: 1 year this month!