RN shares why she chose Karmanos and how to become an oncology certified nurse

Nurses at Karmanos hold one of the most essential positions dedicated to making a difference for our cancer patients. Our registered nurses (RNs) set the tone for the level and quality of care we provide.

Kendra Jones, RN, OCN, is one of those nurses.

“Before I started nursing, I wanted to originally be a labor and delivery nurse and become L&D certified. However, I ended up starting my career in oncology on an inpatient floor at another health system,” explained Jones. “Eventually, I transferred from the inpatient floor to the outpatient infusion center.”

Shortly after, Jones made a decision to seek opportunities at Karmanos. She received a position at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Weisberg Cancer Center in December 2022.

“I felt like there were more opportunities to further my career in oncology than where I was working prior to coming to Karmanos.”

It was then that Jones thought about taking her career one step further and concentrating on cancer care. 

“I fell in love with oncology, so I thought, why not get my OCN?”

RNs at Karmanos are encouraged to take training through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) to become an oncology certified nurse (OCN), but the certification is voluntary. Being certified in oncology helps give patients peace of mind that they are being cared for by a nurse who has specialized knowledge, experience, and training in cancer care.

To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have two years of experience as an RN, have at least 2,000 hours practicing in adult oncology, meet specific educational requirements, and become a member of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). The ONCC suggests applicants review the test content, take a practice exam, and begin studying based on their practice results.

“Lots of studying – I recommend taking an OCN course close to the time you would like to test,” suggested Jones. “Once you provide the required documents and submit your application, the ONCC will send you approval to take the exam within 90 days.”

Jones received her oncology certification in November 2023 and is providing critical care to cancer patients while contributing to Team Karmanos with a greater impact.

Karmanos supports employed nurses seeking to obtain their OCN by funding the exam. Newly certified OCNs also receive pay increases. To learn more about the OCN certification, click here.

To browse open nursing positions at Karmanos, click here.