Want a Master's Degree With an Oncology Focus but Don't Want to Leave Bedside!

  1. Hello Everyone,

    I am an Associate's Degree Oncology RN who is about to receive a BSN in July from Kean University. I work at Somerset Medical Center in NJ as a staff nurse and would like to achieve a Master's degree with an oncologic focus.

    I love my current position...I was just hired to this floor in August and I am in LOVE with this field of nursing. I would like to further my education in Oncology;however, possibly with a focus in palliative care...what is out there for me where I can keep my current position as a staff nurse?

    I do NOT want a managerial role, but may enjoy a teaching role later in life if I get "burnt out" at the bedside. (I am currently 26 and would like to stay in this position for a long time if I can).

    Some insight would be great! Thanks!

    - Ashley
  2. Visit DuskaRN profile page

    About DuskaRN

    Joined: Mar '13; Posts: 5; Likes: 1
    Oncology RN; from US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience


  3. by   jskgx2
    Hello Ashley,
    I also have a BSN and work in oncology and would love to further my education. Like you I don't want to do management nor NP. After extensive research I've narrowed it down to two options. Clinical Nurse Leader and MSN with emphasis on Public Health. Any additional info will be appreciated!
  4. by   lolaviex
    I don't have anything to add, but I'm interested in hearing the responses so I'm posting to mark my spot
  5. by   Daisy_08
    I live in Canada, so things may be very different. There are many NP;s who work in the community in palliative.
  6. by   DuskaRN
    Daisy_08 thank you, but trying not to leave the hospital/bedside setting.
  7. by   OneDayAttaTime
    Same boat here. Graduated with my BSN December 2011 and have been working in peds oncology since I passed my boards. Want to go back for my masters but have no interest in NP. Was thinking maybe a pediatric CNS with a focus in onco but am just afraid of with how health care reform is changing the market, I won't be able to find a job...
  8. by   brithoover
    I live in Canada working in peds onc. We have many NPs on our floor (which also has lot of palliative unfortunately)
  9. by   HouTx
    There are many MSNs who work in clinical roles. Most hospitals have gotten smart; realized how much these advanced practitioners can add in terms of quality & support for bedside nurses. You may want to explore the new 'Clinical Leader' master's degrees... I think that this is replacing the 'old' Clinical Specialist MSN.
  10. by   hav2nurse
    I too work in Oncology and love it. I don't work on the floor, but I have worked in a number of oncology floors. I found that if you are not on a BMT floor then you don't give a lot of chemotherapy treatments so I left for the outpatient oncology clinics. I started my career with an ADN, then RN-BSN, and most recently I obtained my MSN in Clinical Research Administration. I do have an interest in Oncology clinical trial research, hence my MSN-CRA. I was limited in how I could obtain my MSN so I made the best choice at the time.

    I certainly don't regret my MSN choice, but I do wish I would have chosen another route. I would suggest you take time to think about what it is you really love about your work, (patients, chemotherapy, oncology science etc). You could obtain your NP and still work with patients in a hospital setting. As an oncology NP you could also be a navigator or run a specialty oncology program (like a oncology breast clinic). You could also obtain a Clinical Nurse Specialist MSN and you could then train and education the oncology nurses. Both routes keep you working in oncology and there may be less actual patient tasks and treatments but you still be involved in the patient care and possibly even treatments (if you work in a smaller place). Although both routes are more of a management level, the administrative work has to do with the oncology staff and oncology program.

    I don't know where you live but I would suggest you see if there is an Oncology CNS or NP that you could follow. Even if you have to travel a bit to follow a CNS or NP (just make sure they are doing the kind of work you would want, since some NP's see oncology patients as their primary in some oncology clinics), it is worth the little bit of time now versus having to add certifications and more education later. I am currently looking into getting my certification for CNS or NP, and since my MSN didn't include advance practice (pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology etc) I am almost having to earn another MSN.

    Hope that helps.
  11. by   DuskaRN
    HouTex thank you, since I'd eventually like to teach I feel that CNL would be something I'd like to try.

    Hav2nurse, I want to stay in my current bedside position, which is why I do not feel that NP would be something I would be happy with. That's not a bad idea about following different roles in the field. I really do not want an administrative role either..was looking for just furthering my education solely in an Oncologic focus..whether it be palliative care, or hospice..on my floor, all of the above would be useful..

    I'm wondering if there is something besides CNL out there for me...I need to weigh my options. Is there such thing as an MN or MSN in palliative care or something in that regard? I apologize for my ignorance, researching hasn't helped make any sense of this..
  12. by   BCgradnurse
    A friend from NP school works inpatient oncology at a major medical center in NYC. She works primarily with BMT patients, but also with other cancers. She sees patients daily, does procedures, and generally serves as a hospitalist for these patients. She thinks it's the best of both worlds-she does hands on care, but also has the autonomy and skills to direct their care. She's an adult NP and did extra clinical hours in Oncology. You can also obtain a Palliative Care specialty as an NP and work inpatient. From what I've seen in my area, the CNS presence on patient floors has diminished or disappeared due to budget cuts. The few CNLs I know are administrative and are not involved in direct patient care. I know that role is still evolving and opportunities may change in time.