Nurse in blue scrubs smiling at patient

Duke Cancer Institute oncology nurses provide specialized care to people with cancer. They also play an important role in community leadership, oncology research, nursing education, and professional development.

Patient Care

Duke oncology nurses work consistently with the same provider team to develop close working relationships to improve efficiencies and provide optimal patient care. We educate patients about their condition and treatment, and its impact on quality of life. We also maintain regular contact with patients, help with side effects and symptom management, and assist with procedures. When serious conditions are present, we integrate palliative care into our care and provide an extra layer of support to patients and their families.

Nursing Specialties

Duke oncology nurses work in hospitals and clinics throughout the Triangle in the following specialties:

  • Hematology
  • Stem cell and bone marrow transplant
  • Infusion
  • Medical oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Radiation oncology
  • Palliative care
  • Clinical research and clinical trials


Make a difference in the lives of patients and their families as a nursing and clinical support team member.

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Professional Development

Nurses can develop professionally in their role through many educational offerings, progress through our career clinical ladder, participate on a committee, and pursue advanced degrees through the Duke University School of Nursing. Duke Health partners with Vizient and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to offer new graduate nurses a year-long evidence-based curriculum focused on leadership, patient outcomes, professional roles, and evidence-based practice initiatives. Our clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners are instructors and mentors for our professional development offerings and classes.


Oncology Nursing Specialty
Duke School of Nursing was one of the first to offer a specialized program to become an oncology nurse practitioner. Candidates have at least two or three years of oncology experience in a variety of settings, such as medical oncology, surgical oncology, and stem cell transplant. Oncology-certified nurses (OCN) work with individuals with cancer and understand their psychosocial and physical needs.  Learn more.

DCI Ambulatory Oncology New Graduate Program
DCI is one of the first in the U.S. to offer new graduate nurses the opportunity to begin their careers in ambulatory oncology. Over the span of 12 weeks, the new graduate nurse rotates to several DCI outpatient sites providing hands-on patient care with the support and guidance of experienced nurse preceptors. Rotations include infusion, radiation oncology, and multidisciplinary disease-specific clinics. Dedicated nurse educators, clinical nurse specialists, and nursing leadership guide the new nurse. This unique level of support and experience helps pave the way for a successful transition to practice. Upon completion of the 12-week rotations, the nurse is matched to a home area.  The match is based on openings and best fit.

Duke nursing researchers focus their efforts on reducing the risk of cancer and improving treatment outcomes in patients diagnosed with cancer. Research is also focused on symptom science, including assessment and influences, coping strategies, and survivorship. Learn more: 

Nursing Achievements, Recognition

Magnet Designation
All Duke hospitals -- Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital, a campus of Duke University Hospital -- have achieved Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Association. Only five percent of hospitals in the U.S. earn this honor, which recognizes the highest level of nursing care.

Nursing Certification Advocacy Award
Duke University Health System received an American Board of Nursing Specialties Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. This award recognizes healthcare organizations, facilities, or departments that are strong advocates of specialty nursing certification. This is well-deserved recognition of DUHS Certification Councils’ efforts to promote a work culture that values and encourages nursing certification. Since 2005 we have been offering our own Oncology Nursing Certification Review Course that is free to DUHS nurses.

North Carolina Great 100
Several Duke oncology nurses have been recipients of the North Carolina Great 100. The Great 100 is a peer recognition organization that recognizes nurses at a yearly gala who demonstrate excellence in practice and commitment to their profession.

Nursing Leadership

Our oncology nursing leadership team includes clinical team leads, nurse managers, clinical operations directors, assistant chief nursing officer, and chief of oncology nursing. This team collaborates on initiatives that span our health system. Team members look for opportunities to improve care, patient engagement, and work culture for our staff.

This page was reviewed on 09/18/2023