What is a Hematology Nurse?

A hematology nurse treats patients with diverse blood-related illnesses, diseases, or disorders.

It includes cancer, hemophilia, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, sickle cell anemia, and other ailments.

Hematology nurses operate in hospitals, outpatient facilities, cancer treatment centers, and other healthcare settings.

It enables them to play an essential role in assessing, treating, and managing blood and bone marrow conditions.

What Do Hematology Nurses Do?

Hematology nurses have numerous daily duties and responsibilities to support patients with blood-related ailments.

It includes performing check-ups, collecting blood samples, ordering blood tests, initiating IVs, administering medications, and assisting with blood transfusions.

They also operate medical machinery and provide medical care to treat patients with bone marrow and blood-related illnesses.

Hematology nurses put evidence into practice and provide curative and palliative treatments for different cancers and blood disorders.

They assess their patient’s condition, review their medical history, keep recovery records, and create treatment plans.

It enables them to improve patient outcomes and ensure they achieve optimal health.

Finally, hematology nurses educate patients and families about their condition and advise them on managing their situation.

They’ll advise patients on improving their quality of life and the need to design and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hematology Nurse Duties:

  • Investigate blood and bone marrow problems
    Review patient medical histories
  • Monitor patient vitals and update medical records
  • Perform physical assessments
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Assist patients with red cell disorders
  • Treat various blood cancers
  • Administer chemotherapy treatments
  • Advise patients on improving their quality of life
  • Consult and educate patients and family members 

Where Do Hematology Nurses Work?

Hematology nurses work in various settings related to blood work or treating patients with blood-related illnesses or diseases.

It enables them to operate in a particular healthcare field to provide specialized care to a specific group of patients. 

For instance, hematology nurses may work in cancer treatment centers.

As a result, they assist and treat children with cancer or specialize in adult/elderly care.

Some standard work settings for hematology nurses include blood clinics, hospitals, cancer treatment centers, specialty clinics, and nurse practitioner offices.

With that said, numerous other healthcare facilities require hematology nurses.

Career Environments:

  • Hospitals
  • Blood clinics
  • Cancer treatment centers
  • Chemotherapy
  • Acute and palliative care
  • Physician/practitioner offices
  • Outpatient settings
  • Community health centers
  • Radiotherapy/chemotherapy wards

Career Advancement

Hematology nurses who want to advance their careers may return to school to continue their education.

Those who pursue further education and obtain MSN or DNP degrees become advanced practice registered nurses.

It enables them to combine their medical expertise with a more specialized career field.

For instance, registered nurses with advanced education may work as nurse educators.

It allows them to accept academic/leadership roles to educate students and professionals about nursing.

Other registered nurses may receive education to obtain positions as head nurses of a nursing department.

There are also non-direct care careers like research that allow nurses to collect data, perform lab tests, and do clinical trials.

The Daily Routine of the Hematology Nurse

A critical duty of the hematology nurse is gathering the patient’s complete history and reviewing the previous shift’s handover.

Once the healthcare specialist documents the patient’s history, the physician can start an appropriate care plan.

The physician prescribes a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

After that, 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, they 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.

It enables them to insert peripherally inserted central catheter IVs or PICC lines.

Sometimes PICC lines are used for patients requiring frequent IV access.

It allows them to insert medications and blood products into a permanent line with an access port.

Many hematology nurses are involved in research projects designed to study blood diseases and search for cures.

The nurse’s duties in the research setting include patient care of individuals involved in the study.

It includes administering medications and blood products and gathering research data.

The nurse may be responsible for gathering and collating data in ongoing studies.

The Valuable Role of the Hematology Nurse

Hematology nurses are essential to the patient, the family, and the physician.

These nurses spend more personal time with patients and are often better able to pick up on subtle cues that others may miss.

In most settings, nurses in hematology build relationships with patients and families that come in routinely for infusions of medications and blood products.

These nurses act as patient advocates by reporting changes and differences in the patient’s condition.

Nurses working in the field can specialize even further by working exclusively with adults or children.

Many pediatric hematology nurses operate in clinics operated by large children’s hospitals.

Others may decide to work in acute or outpatient care.

How To Become A Hematology Nurse

There are numerous steps aspiring hematology nurses must satisfy to operate in this specialization.

It includes finishing nursing school, acquiring an ADN or BSN, passing the NCLEX-RN, and gaining experience.

Aspiring hematology nurses may also want to obtain a hematology nurse certification to demonstrate their expertise.

The following section provides an overview of how to become a hematology nurse.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a hematology nurse is to enter nursing school and complete the program.

Before entering nursing school, students must complete numerous prerequisite courses.

The required prerequisite courses help prospective nursing students build an academic foundation to succeed in the program.

Aspiring nursing school students must also maintain a good GPA.

Many nursing programs use GPA and nursing school entrance exams to determine which students to accept.

After completing the necessary prerequisites, students may apply to the nursing program.

2. Acquire an ADN or BSN

Most nursing programs enable students to earn one of two standard degrees, which include the ADN and BSN degrees.

The ADN takes approximately 18 – 24 months to complete, enabling nursing students to enter healthcare quickly.

This degree is ideal for those who want to earn money fast and gain work experience in entry-level positions.

It’s also beneficial for those unsure whether to pursue nursing further as a career because it’s less expensive than a BSN.

The ADN is less expensive, lengthy, and comprehensive than the BSN, making it ideal for students with no healthcare background.

Nevertheless, many healthcare facilities prefer registered nurses with a BSN for more specialized and advanced careers.

The BSN degree takes roughly 36 – 48 months to complete and provides a more comprehensive nursing education.

Registered nurses with a BSN can specialize in many different advanced healthcare disciplines.

For instance, BSN nurses specialize in oncology, informatics, advocacy, perioperative care, and hematology.

Some students earn an ADN and start working promptly to gain experience and income while pursuing their BSN online.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN

After completing the nursing program, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Passing the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses) is necessary to obtain licensure.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops the NCLEX to qualify graduates for professional work.

Accordingly, those who pass the exam demonstrate their competency in nursing and capacity to succeed in entry-level jobs.

4. Gain Work Experience

After obtaining licensure, the next step to becoming a hematology nurse is to gain experience as a registered nurse.

New registered nurses can work in direct care environments like hospitals or outpatient clinics.

It enables them to learn the ins and outs of nursing, develop vital skills and become more effective at patient care.

Nevertheless, some nurse graduates apply for hematology positions after acquiring licensure to enter this domain quickly.

Understanding the hospital/healthcare facility’s conditions and provisions for those applying for hematology jobs is vital.

Some facilities may offer new nurses on-the-job training, while others require prior work experience.

5. Get Certified

Nurses who want to affirm their dedication and expertise in hematology nursing to employers may want to get certified.

Obtaining certification is not necessary for all hematology nursing positions.

However, it’s an excellent way to show healthcare facilities you’re knowledgeable and dedicated to hematology nursing.

Numerous certifications are available for this profession to accommodate different specializations in hematology.

You can also take a hematology nurse certification program from the National Hemophilia Foundation.

Regardless, it’s vital to review the different certificate programs and determine the most suitable one for your career.

You’ll also want to ensure any hematology certifications you acquire are valid and accepted by the employer.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dermatology Nurse?

It takes roughly three to six years to become a hematology nurse, from earning a degree to practicing in the field.

The length of time varies depending on how quickly students obtain an education and begin working in nursing.

Some healthcare facilities have specific requirements that lengthen the time needed to obtain the position.

For instance, some hematology careers require a year of work experience in direct care before applying for the position.

Comparatively, management/leadership hematology nurse jobs may require an MSN and five years of clinical experience.

The time needed to work in hematology depends on the employer’s needs, the hematology job, and the applicant’s experience.