Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course

General Information

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course provides a comprehensive review of the knowledge needed to administer cytotoxic and biotherapeutic agents. The course content is appropriate for nurses who are new to chemotherapy/biotherapy administration in the oncology setting or for those who want a comprehensive review of this topic.

Nurses without oncology experience may not have sufficient background to place the information into context. They should consider a basic review course or self-study prior to attending. For nurses administering these drugs in non-oncologic settings, the Treatment Basics Course may be more appropriate.

Target Audience

The intended learner for this program is a licensed registered nurse with a minimum of 6 months employment as a nurse, who possesses a basic understanding of cancer biology.

Course Requirements

All of the following requirements must be met
  • Attend the course in its entirety
  • Minimum of 80% on the post-test
  • Submission of the Course Evaluation within one week of the close of the course

Only registered nurses are eligible to receive the ONS Chemotherapy & Biotherapy Provider Card. This card validates the registered nurse has the theoretical foundation needed to administer cytotoxic and biotherapeutic agents. The card is valid for two years.

The ONS Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Course is NOT a certification course, and is not intended to measure competency. Individual institutions are responsible for determining their own requirements for assessing clinical competency.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the participant will be able to:
  • Identify various therapeutic modalities used to treat cancer with emphasis on chemotherapy and biotherapy.
  • Describe the investigational process all drugs undergo to gain approval for use.
  • Review ethical and legal issues related to cancer therapy.
  • Identify factors affecting response to cancer therapy.
  • Identify selected commonly used agents, their mechanisms of action, and any unique administration issues.
  • Discuss safety precautions necessary when handling cytotoxic agents.
  • Review chemotherapy dose calculations and practice examples.
  • Identify nursing procedures and interventions for administering cytotoxic and biologic agents.
  • Discuss two immediate complications of cancer therapy, extravasation and hypersensitivity, and the nursing measures required to prevent and/or reduce these complications.
  • Identify selected systematic side effects of cytotoxic and biotherapeutic agents and the nursing interventions required to manage these side effects.
  • Review specific patient and family education that may prevent and/or reduce the impact of systemic side effects.

Program Schedule

  • Introduction
    • Definition of cancer
    • Treatment modalities
    • Drug development process/clinical trial process
    • Ethical and legal issues
  • Goals of Cancer therapy and measuring response
  • Principles of chemotherapy
  • Principles of biotherapy
  • Principles of Targeted Therapy
  • Safe practice considerations
  • Administration
  • Dose determination
  • Pre-treatment care
  • Routes of administration
  • Immediate complications of cytotoxic therapy
  • Care of the patient receiving chemotherapy/biotherapy
  • Side effects of cancer therapy
  • Myelosuppression
  • GI and mucosal side effects
  • Cutaneous Toxicity
  • Alopecia
  • Cardiovascular toxicity
  • Pulmonary toxicity
  • Hemorrhagic cystitis
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Cognitive changes
  • Ocular Toxicity
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fatigue
  • Alterations in Sexual and Reproductive function
  • Secondary Malignancies
  • Survivorship Care Plan
  • Case Studies (optional)
  • Exam and Course Evaluation

Continuing Nursing Education Credit

ONS will award 13.5 contact hours to nurses who meet all course requirements.
ONS is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

ONS is approved as a provider of continuing nursing education by the California State Board of Registered Nursing, Provider No. 2850.

Course Faculty

The course faculty includes experience oncology nurses who have successfully completed the Oncology Nursing Society's Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Trainer course. Faculty members include:

Leah Scaramuzzo, MSN, RNC, AOCN Susan Schwartz, MSN, RN
Carla Schaefer, BSN, RN, OCN Tareai Smith, BSN, RN, OCN


Two-day didactic course is $300. This includes a Continental breakfast, lunch, all course materials, copy of the Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendation for Practice, 3rd Ed., and Continuing Nursing Education Credits.

Location and Time

July 11, 2013 from 7:30 a.m - 5:00 p.m. and July 16, 2013 from 7:30 a.m - 5:00 p.m.
The course will be held in The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Auditorium A & B, 3rd Floor, 195 Little Albany Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903-2681.

Requesting Special Testing Accommodations Due to Disability
ONS will provide reasonable accommodations for registrants with disabilities that are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended. Registrants requesting special accommodations must notify The Cancer Institute of new Jersey's Office of Nursing and Patient two weeks prior to the program.

Further Information
Please contact Nursing Education at 732-235-8784 or via e-mail at

Expiration Date: June 26, 2013 11:59 pm

LocationThe Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Start Time of CourseJul 11, 2013 7:30 am
End Time of CourseJul 11, 2013 5:00 pm
Price for non-RCINJ
Network Hospitals
Registration DeadlineJul 12, 2013 11:30 am

Registration deadline is two weeks before course, subject to availability (course may close earlier). Course fees DO NOT include parking and must be received at least two weeks prior to the course. Refunds will only be given to those who cancel 24 hours prior to the course.

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Problems or Questions?
Contact Nursing Education at 732-235-8784