How to Become a Macmillan Nurse

The role of a nurse is to focus on the needs and comfort of the individual by providing advice, care and counselling. Nurses who work for the Macmillan Cancer Support organisation perform this role for cancer patients, doing their best to improve their lives.

With expert knowledge about cancer, they advise patients on treatments and side effects, how to control pain and handle symptoms, and provide emotional support and offer practical help. Macmillan nurses provide their services free to cancer patients.

Qualify to become a nurse in the UK with a diploma or degree course. Diploma courses last for three years while degree courses last for up to four years. After the first year, students will specialise in children's, adult, learning disability or mental health nursing.

Take an Overseas Nursing Programme (ONP) if you trained as a registered nurse outside the European Union. You will need an assessment by the Nursing Midwifery Council, the regulatory body for nurses, midwives and specialist community health nurses. The ONP lasts for twenty days and educates participants on UK law, drug administration, health and safety issues, record keeping and the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) Code of Conduct (see Resources below).

Obtain a degree in palliative care or oncology. Degrees in palliative care and oncology are usually offered at the postgraduate level.

Obtain at least five years of clinical experience. Macmillan nurses specialise in the treatment of cancer patients so two years of your experience must be in cancer or palliative care.

Apply for a position with the Macmillan Cancer Support group. Available vacancies are advertised in journals and health-related media. Positions are filled through the National Health Service trusts in the UK.

Take a developmental role if you fall short of the requirements. Nurses who don't meet the requirements for Clinical Nurse Specialist posts will be offered training positions.

Obtain a specialist qualification. In order to practice as a Clinical Nursing Specialist, Macmillan nurses must take a course, at the diploma or degree level, to meet the Nursing Midwifery Council's requirements for Specialist Nursing Practice.

Keep learning. Macmillan nurses are expected to keep their knowledge and skills up to date by taking available education programs. Macmillan offers a variety of programs.

Obtain more information on how to become a Macmillan Nurse. Visit Macmillan Cancer Support to learn more (see Resources below).