Which RN Is Competent in Chemotherapy Administration?

November 01, 2018

The Answer

The answer is C.  

The ONS position statement about education for nurses administering chemotherapy identifies RNs as the entry-level caregivers who should be prepared to administer chemotherapy. Licensed practical nurses are not included in the position statement.  

It says, "RNs are the professional nurses responsible for all aspects of administering and monitoring systemic cancer therapies, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. State practice acts should be consulted when developing institutional policies and procedures." 

In addition, ONS states that because of the unique dangers associated with chemotherapeutic drugs, any individual who handles chemotherapeutic and other hazardous drugs should be specially educated regarding their use, side effects, administration practices, safe handling, potential spill issues, patient complications, and potential for emergency procedures. ONS maintains that any individual administering such agents should receive specific training regardless of the indication, route of administration, or patient population. The training should include completed didactic training and a chemotherapy competency validation before an RN can be deemed chemotherapy competent and able to be involved in administration and verification. 
 
The Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice (fourth edition) state that continuing competence should be validated at regular intervals, using the example of annual validation—however, this is not a standard or requirement.

Chapter 11 discusses chemotherapy administration competence, stating, “Annual education and competency evaluation is recommended. Educational content should, at a minimum, emphasize any new information available. Methods for evaluation may include but are not limited to clinical observation, quality improvement studies, chart audits, competency checklist, attendance at an educational program, literature review, and testing" 


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