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Chemotherapy Certification Program

This program helps Registered Nurses to provide comprehensive care to patients receiving systemic therapy treatment for cancer.
About the program
Chemotherapy Certification Program elements reflect the Cancer Chemotherapy Nursing Standards and Competencies (2011) developed by the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO).

The primary goal of the program is to support RNs to utilize an evidence based approach to planning and providing safe care to patients who are receiving systemic therapy, including the actual administration of chemotherapy and biotherapy drugs.

This education program is open to RN’s employed by BC Cancer or RNs from the British Columbia Community Oncology Network (CON) in consultation with regional health authorities. Please note that course materials are distributed in an electronic format.

The following prerequisites are required to participate in BC Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Education Program.

The Registered Nurse will: 

  • Be a licensed Registered Nurse practicing in British Columbia
  • Be recommended by his/her nurse manager
  • Have opportunities to consolidate the initial learning experience after completing the clinical practicum
  • Administer at least 50 chemotherapy drugs per year in order to maintain competency
  • Commit to participate in continuing education directly related to the care of patients receiving chemotherapy
  • Have completed intravenous therapy certification according to the requirements of his/her organization
  • Have completed central venous catheter certification according to requirements of his/her organization

Please note that workshops are now delivered in two, 4 hour videolinked sessions from 08:00-12:00 hrs. Confirmed participants and their nurse manager are responsible for ensuring that videoconferencing equipment at their organization is booked for the session(s).

If confirmed participants are unable to access videoconferencing equipment within their organization, equipment at a BC Cancer regional cancer centre may be utilized. Please contact the Provincial Professional Practice Nursing at BC Cancer PPN Admin to coordinate. 


  • October 3rd and 4th, 2019 - registration open
  • November 18th and 19th, 2019 - registration open
  • December 11th and 12th, 2019 - registration open

Please read the following instructions carefully. Our application process has recently changed for a more convenient and streamlined approach via LearningHub.

STEP 1: Create a LearningHub account
For those managers and participants who do not have a LearningHub account, please register online with your work email.

STEP 2: For Applicants External to BC Cancer (including Community Oncology Networks)
After you have created your LearningHub account you may proceed to complete the application forms:

You are required to complete both the referring Manager and Participant application forms then submit payment online.

Once we have received payment, reviewed and approved both application forms, we will distribute the course materials via LearningHub link to your work email only.

Note: If the practicum component cannot be done within the applicant’s workplace, please email for assistance to set up a practicum placement at a BC Cancer regional site (please note, requested workshop dates may need to change in order to accommodate practicum/preceptor availability).

STEP 2: For Internal (BC Cancer) Applicants
One application form to be completed by the Manager: 

If you have any questions, please email

A fee of $50.00 is required to support administrative costs associated with course coordination.  Please note that this fee is non-refundable.

Workshop - No fee for confirmed participants

Clinical Practicum - No fee for confirmed participants


The principle text referenced most frequently in the program is:

Yarbro, C., Wujcki, D., & Gobel, B. (2016).  Cancer Nursing Principles and Practice, (8th ed). Bulington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

You will require access to this text to complete the program.  If you do not have access to this text via your own organization, a copy may be borrowed from one of the BC Cancer Libraries.


Course payment is completed by the participant via a secure online process.  Instructions are included within the Participant's Application Form.

If an application is not accepted, the payment will be refunded in full.

Please note that travel arrangements and accommodation costs associated with this program are not supported by BC Cancer.

Upon completion of the education program, the RN will be able to:

  1. Locate and utilize evidence based practice guidelines and organizational policies and procedures when caring for a patient receiving chemotherapy.
  2. Apply the principles of adult learning in the provision of chemotherapy patient care and teaching.
  3. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the patient prior to initiating treatment with chemotherapy.
  4. Complete an assessment of the patient’s laboratory findings which relate to the individual treatment protocol.
  5. Provide the treatment related information necessary to enable the patient and their family to safely initiate appropriate self care strategies and to recognize when to contact the health care professional.
  6. Demonstrate the infusion therapy skills (peripheral and central) necessary to safely administer chemotherapy.
  7. Utilize various sources of evidence including organizational guidelines to assess and manage the side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
  8. Describe the rationale for the use of pre-medications and safely administer oral and intravenous chemotherapy drugs using push, sidearm, and infusion methods.
  9. Teach patients to safely manage continuous intravenous infusions utilizing elastomeric pumps and a central venous catheter.
  10. Identify and safely manage acute local or systemic reactions including extravasation or anaphylaxis.
  11. Demonstrate knowledge of safe handling practices by providing the patient/family with information related to managing biohazardous wastes and by safely storing, handling, transporting and disposing of chemotherapy drugs.
  12. Document relevant patient data in the appropriate record.

The program is comprised of four major components which are completed consecutively: 

  1. Completion of a self directed theoretical component and an online, closed book, examination (pass mark 75%)
  2. Two 4 hour workshop sessions attended via videoconferencing
  3. 3 day clinical practicum
  4. Continuing competency process

Theoretical Component: 

This component of the learning program engages the RN in learning activities which examine:

  • The Pathophysiology of Cancer
  • Cancer Diagnosis and Staging
  • The Science of Antineoplastic Drugs
  • The Science of Biological Therapies
  • The Science of Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Administration of Antineoplastic Drugs and Biological Therapies
  • Systemic Side Effects of Chemotherapy
  • Long Term Effects/Organ Toxicities of Chemotherapy
  • Managing Immune Mediated Adverse Events
  • Safe Handling of Antineoplastic Drugs and Wastes
  • Patient Education
  • Ethics and Oncology Nursing Practice
  • Supporting Patients in Cancer Survivorship

Learning activities are varied and include online learning, reading, video clips, review questions, review of on-line resources, and reflection.



The workshop is delivered in two, 4 hour videolinked interactive sessions. The activities within these sessions encourage the RN learner to apply new knowledge to simulated clinical situations. Learning activities include discussion, reflection, and group work. Case studies are used to identify the essential elements of patient care.


Clinical Practicum:

The three day clinical practicum is held in a chemotherapy care setting. We recommend that the clinical practicum be scheduled within one month following the completion of the workshop.  An experienced chemotherapy nurse preceptor is assigned to the RN learner to support the application of knowledge within the clinical setting. Learning tools such as a Practicum Guide have been developed to support both the RN learner and the preceptor during the clinical practicum.

The clinical practicum can be coordinated in the RN learners own oncology practice setting if the following criteria are met:

  • There are experienced preceptors who have completed the BC Cancer Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Education Program to mentor and support the learner
  • The preceptor is supernumerary
  • Patient care activities are sufficient in number and variation to enable the RN to meet the learning objectives
  • The organization has established chemotherapy policies and procedures

Evaluation is ongoing throughout the practicum and is based on clearly stated objectives. At the end of the practicum, the RN learner and the preceptor develop a learning plan to identify ongoing learning needs. This plan will be reviewed with the nurse manager once the RN learner commences practice within the clinical setting.

Continuing Competency:

To maintain clinical competence, Chemotherapy nurses require sufficient opportunities to apply and advance their knowledge and skills related to chemotherapy care. BC Cancer strongly recommends that nurses should administer at least 50 chemotherapy drugs each year. In addition, nurses should engage in learning activities which inform nursing practice.

BC Cancer RNs who practice within the Ambulatory Chemotherapy Care Units are required to administer a minimum of 50 chemotherapy drugs each year and record this information on the Record of Exposure to Cytotoxic Drugs form. In addition, each year BC Cancer RNs are required to provide evidence of participation in learning activities related to chemotherapy patient care to their Clinical Nurse Coordinator.

BC Cancer frequently receives requests to “certify” RNs who have completed a chemotherapy/biotherapy course in another province or to “re-certify” BC Registered Nurses who have been unable to meet the continuing competency requirements.

These requests are reviewed on an individual basis with due consideration of the applicants knowledge and experience.

Any questions regarding this process should be directed to: 

BC Cancer Provincial Professional Practice – Nursing at BC Cancer PPN Admin
BC Cancer - Vancouver Centre
600 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V5Z 4E6

Continuing competency

This section describes the expectations of and opportunities for chemotherapy certified nurses so they can continue to develop knowledge and skill in this area of practice.

Expectations for Continuing Competency

The chemotherapy-certified Registered Nurse (RN) is responsible for maintaining continuing competency in the care of patients receiving chemotherapy.

  • The chemotherapy certified nurse demonstrates continuing competency annually by:
    • Administering at least 50 chemotherapy drugs per year; and
    • developing and following a learning plan for expanding knowledge and skills related to chemotherapy
  • The nurse’s manager assists the nurse in meeting the requirements for continuing competency by supporting professional development activities
  • The nurse's manager is responsible for confirming, on an annual basis, that the nurse has met the requirements for continuing competency
  • If a nurse does not meet the specified requirements for continuing competency in chemotherapy, s/he should not administer chemotherapy or perform related care


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SOURCE: Chemotherapy Certification Program ( )
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