A hematology nurse is specially trained to care for patients who are suffering from blood disorders such as hemophilia, sickle-cell anemia, and leukemia.
They often share the same duties as oncology nurses who care for cancer patients.
Many hematology nurses work on specialty hospital nursing units or in doctor’s offices and clinics that primarily care for patients with blood disorders.
They can also be employed in home health care settings under the direction of a physician.
The Daily Routine of the Hematology Nurse
One important duty of the nurse is gathering the complete history of the patient.
Once the patient’s history has been documented, an appropriate plan of care can be started.
The physician prescribes a personalized treatment plan for each patient, and the hematology nurse helps explain procedures and educates the family on the disease process and treatment.
If the nurse works in an office or clinic, he or she may spend a good portion of the day obtaining IV access through IV starts and infusing medications and blood products.
Some hematology nurses acquire special education that allows them to insert peripherally inserted central catheter IVs, or PICC lines.
PICC lines are sometimes used for patients that require frequent IV access and allow medications and blood products to be inserted into a permanent line with an access port.
Many hematology nurses are involved in research projects that are designed to study blood diseases and search for cures.
The duties of the nurse in the research setting include patient care of individuals involved in the study which includes administration of medications and blood products and gathering research data.
The nurse may be responsible for gathering and collating data that is used in ongoing studies.
The Valuable Role of the Hematology Nurse
Hematology nurses provide an important role to the patient, the family and the physician.
Nurses generally spend more one-on-one time with patients and are often better able to pick up on subtle cues that others may miss.
In most settings, nurses that work in hematology build relationships with patients and families that come in routinely for infusions of medications and blood products.
The nurse acts as a patient advocate by reporting any changes and differences noticed in the patient’s condition.
Nurses working in the field can specialize even further by working with either adults or children exclusively.
Many pediatric hematology nurses are hired into clinics that are operated by large children’s hospitals and may work in either acute or outpatient care.
Existing registered nurses who show an interest in hematology can gain experience by working in the field.
Additional education can be acquired by taking an exam that will grant certification in hematology.