Assignment: Practicing in Oncology

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Assignment: Practicing in Oncology

Assignment: Practicing in Oncology

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system that promotes academic progression; (c) nurses should be full partners with physicians and other healthcare pro- fessionals in redesigning healthcare in the United States; and (d) effective workforce planning and policymaking require better data collection and information infrastructure.


oncology nurse practitioners; scope

of practice; professional development



BACKGROUND: Oncology nurse practitioners

(ONPs) are advanced practice RNs prepared at the

graduate level with high-level knowledge and skills

in oncology. Because of challenges in educational

programs and variability in the scope of practice

at the state and institutional level, many ONPs are

challenged to practice to the full extent of their

education, certification, and licensure.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this article is to

review issues affecting the education and practice

patterns of ONPs and to identify solutions to

address the challenges that exist for ONPs.

METHODS: Members of the Oncology Nursing

Society’s Nurse Practitioner Summit summarized

the challenges faced by ONPs related to education,

training, practice, and professional development.

FINDINGS: Efforts to promote ONP practice at

the fullest extent of licensure and across various

settings should be prioritized. Resources must be

devoted to education, onboarding, and retention

to integrate and retain ONPs as leaders of the

interprofessional team.

This report recognizes the importance of nursing in achieving the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including expanding access, shifting care delivery from treatment to prevention, improving healthcare quality and safety, providing culturally competent healthcare to vulnerable populations, reducing costs, and improving healthcare efficiency and delivery by using health- care information technology (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2018).

As APRNs, nurse practitioners (NPs) are healthcare providers who are well poised to meet these goals, with a growing number of NPs annually entering practice. According to data provided by the AANP, the number of certified NPs has significantly increased since the ACA was passed into law, with more than 248,000 currently certified NPs (AANP, n.d., 2018a) (see Table 1); how- ever, the number practicing in oncology in the United States is unknown (Coombs, Hunt, & Cataldo, 2016) because no central- ized licensing or registration pathway exists for ONP practice.

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