Oncology Specialty

Oncology students with professorThe oncology specialty offers you the opportunity to become an expert clinician in the care of individuals with cancer. The curriculum is based on the Oncology Nursing Society Scope and Standards for Advanced Practice in Oncology Nursing that incorporates the latest evidence based knowledge in the field. You will complete a synthesis as a final clinical experience under the mentorship of an expert clinician in an oncology specialty.

Coursework and clinical experiences prepare you to practice as an Oncology Nurse Practitioner. Our graduates practice in a variety of cancer care settings across the United States. The specialty courses provide the foundation for an additional specialty certification as an Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner.

  • Curriculum includes three specific oncology courses integrated within the Nurse Practitioner major

  • Didactic content includes concepts of cancer prevention, cancer epidemiology/pathophysiology, disease treatment, symptom management, palliative care and survivorship

  • Opportunities for clinical experiences with expert Oncology Nurse Practitioners at the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center, ranked best cancer center in the southeast

  • Provides 224 clinical hours in oncology in settings such as Stem Cell Transplant, Inpatient Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Brain Tumor Center, Outpatient Clinics, and Survivorship Clinics

  • 10 credit hours

  • Spring start only

Q&A with Lead Faculty Mary Lou Affronti

Q: What attracts you to oncology?
A: Improving the quality of life of patients with cancer and their families. It's an opportunity to build long-term relationships and tremendous learning and leadership opportunities.

Q: What makes the oncology specialty unique?
A: The oncology field is evolving rapidly with increasing new treatment and research opportunities. Many cancer subspecialties are creating multiple opportunities for oncology nurse practitioners to work collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams.

Q: What type of nurse should consider a DUSON certificate in oncology?
A: An oncology nurse who would like to lead others in the oncology practice as an oncology advanced practice provider.

Q: Describe an excellent candidate for the oncology specialty?
A: A nurse with oncology nursing experience. We prefer a type of oncology certification.

Q: How can the oncology specialty enhance a nurse's career?
A: The Duke Cancer Institute is a major Comprehensive Cancer Center with many interdisciplinary providers who are experts in the field. The oncology specialty will enhance our ability to work as nurse practitioners in oncology and assist in obtaining a position in the field. All graduates work in oncology.

  • NUR 811: Advanced Practice Nursing: Oncology Specialty I (Spring only)

  • NUR 813: Advanced Practice Nursing: Oncology Specialty II (Summer only)

  • NUR 815: Advanced Practice Nursing in Oncology Specialty Synthesis

Enrollment Options

If you are interested in adding this specialty to your academic plan, you must complete the Add a Specialty Form. This form must be submitted to the MSN Program Office via email (son‐msn@dm.duke.edu) at least 10 days before the start of the semester.

Nurse practitioners with an MSN degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution and nurse practitioner students from other regionally accredited colleges or universities interested in earning a certificate in this specialty should follow the instructions for the Specialty Certificate application. Enrollment decisions are made by the lead faculty of the specialty based on space availability.



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