Introduction to Oncology Nursing (Feb 2023)


4 week course (10 hours CPD), starting 27th February 2023



It is estimated that one in three companion animals will die of cancer, which makes understanding the disease and caring for these animals and their families common within our role. Despite this demand, there is limited space in the veterinary nurse curriculum dedicated to cancer and so here we explore the subject in more practical detail.


This course discusses how cancer manifests in the companion animal, how a cancer diagnosis is made and how chemotherapy treatments are administered. Throughout the weekly sessions there are activities and opportunities to test your learning and evaluate how you could introduce some of the practical elements into your practice.


After completing this 4 week online course, the participants will have a greater knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of veterinary oncology and be able to apply this to their own working practices.


Week 1

What is Cancer?

  • Pathophysiology of neoplasia
  • Common causes of cancer in animals
  • Classifications of cancer types
  • The difference between benign and malignant disease

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the alterations in the cell cycle that results in neoplastic disease
  • List the different types of cancer based on tissue origin
  • Describe the different causes of cancer in small animals
  • Explain how benign disease is different to malignant disease and the risks associated with both conditions
  • Identify higher risk categories of patients and analyse the research available in line with evidence-based medicine


Week 2 

Diagnosis and Prognosis

  • Fine needle aspirates
  • Cancer cytology
  • Cancer staging
  • Specialist tests for cancer

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • List fine needle aspirate methods to optimise cytological yield
  • Evaluate a cytology sample in-house to ensure sample is of diagnostic quality
  • Understand the commonly preferred methods for staging patients with neoplasia
  • Describe the types of specialist tests required to further categorise cancer
  • Analyse personal skill set and determine if any modifications to current practice would be beneficial


Week 3 
Common chemotherapy agents

  • Overview of common chemotherapy drugs
  • Administering chemotherapy
  • Chemotherapy safety
  • Adverse effects with administering chemotherapy

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Understand how chemotherapy agents work
  • Explain how to correctly administer chemotherapy agents
  • List what safety factors should be observed when administering chemotherapy in practice
  • Describe how to manage an extravasation injury and reduce risk of chemotherapy associated nausea and vomiting
  • Evaluate practice protocols to standardise and promote best practice in line with most current information


Week 4
Client and Patient Support

  • Introduction to oncology clinics
  • Nadir checks
  • Managing adverse effects following chemotherapy administration
  • The Cancer Journey

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Describe how and why a nadir check is performed
  • Identify common adverse effects associated with chemotherapy
  • Understand preventive and interventional treatment protocols for chemotherapy associated adverse effects
  • Explain the causes for likely outcome of treatment failure and the physiology behind this
  • Reflect over professional skill set and evaluate how you can further enhance your personal development to support clients of patients with cancer

The course will be fully tutored by Nicola Read, and will consist of 10 hours of CPD given in various formats, including tutorials, tasks, case studies, forum discussions and quizzes.



There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Introduction to Oncology Nursing (Feb 2023)”

Nicola Read

PgC (Oncology Veterinary Nursing), DipAVN (Med), RVN


Nicola qualified in 2000 from a well-established small animal general practice in North West London where she also gained the D32/33 Assessor qualification. She spent a year at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in 2001 to gain experience in a charity based organisation and then moved to the Queen Mother Hospital, Royal Veterinary College in 2002, in order to study for the RCVS Advanced diploma. In June 2008 she became the Head Medicine Nurse at the Royal Veterinary College, then Head Oncology Nurse in 2015 after a departmental split. She is currently working towards a MSc in Veterinary Nursing and undertaking a PgC in Veterinary Education. Her clinical interests are endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology immune-mediated disease and palliative care.

This online course is worth 10 hours of CPD.


A certificate will be available from the ‘My Courses’ section, for you to download and print, once you have completed the course.  A permanent record of your total CPD hours will also be recorded in your account section.


Upon purchase you will be registered to attend the course, for 4 weeks from the start date.  The course will consist of various interactive tasks and lessons, including quizzes, case studies, forum discussions and further reading material.


The course is fully tutored, with new material will be provided weekly, but the onus will be on the individual delegate to ensure that all tasks are fully complete.  The certificate will only be issued at the end of the course when all tasks have been accomplished.  Fewer CPD hours will be awarded at the the end of the course if there are unfinished tasks or there has been no contribution to the discussion forum, for example.


The course is fully flexible, and there are no weekly ‘deadlines’ – the lessons and tasks may be completed whenever is convenient for each delegate, and any live lessons with be recorded and made available in that format.   Furthermore, all the course material (excluding the interactive discussion forum) will be available for a further 2 weeks, to allow delegates the opportunity to catch up on missed lessons and tasks, or to take the opportunity to delve further into the suggested reading texts.  Please note however, that the course will not be tutored by the speaker during these final two weeks.


After 6 weeks, the course will be complete and there will be no further opportunity to gain the certificate or CPD hours, however, you will have unlimited lifetime access to the tutorials, further reading and quizzes for future reference.  If you make any personal notes during the course using the ‘take notes’ app, these will be saved, along with your certificate and CPD record for permanent access in ‘My CPD’.


For some further information about our Online Tutored CPD courses – please read our PDF guide to Online Tutored CPD