Specialist Certificate in Cancer Nursing

What will I study?


The course learning outcomes are adapted from competency standards for nurses in cancer control (The National Cancer Nursing Education Project (EdCaN), Cancer Australia, 2009).

Throughout the Specialist Certificate, you will:

Learn core pathophysiological concepts

You will examine the scientific basis of why disease occurs and how it manifests. You will learn how to apply this pathophysiological understanding when interpreting, identifying and analysing disease in your patients, so you can best assess how to implement treatment and prioritise care.

Develop an understanding of the complex care needs of people affected by cancer and approaches to best support them

You will explore the broad range of early and late effects of cancer and its treatment and the evidence-based multidisciplinary care to address these, identifying best practice specialist cancer nursing care.

Explore the contribution of nurses to interprofessional cancer control across the continuum of care

Australian and international trends in cancer data will be examined and the role of the specialist cancer nurse in meeting disease- and treatment-related health care needs for people with cancer will be explored.

Enhance your therapeutic communication skills

You will discuss the psychosocial, informational and spiritual impacts of diagnosis and treatment on people with cancer and their families. You will also develop your knowledge and skills in therapeutic communication and explore opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills to enhance the experience of cancer survivors.

Course structure

To gain the Specialist Certificate in Cancer Nursing, you must complete two compulsory online subjects, each worth 12.5 credit points:

  • Applied Pathophysiology – you must first complete this prerequisite subject
  • Foundations in Cancer Nursing – You will then complete this subject offered in Term 2 and Term 4.


On average, it is estimated that students will be required to allocate 15-19 hours per week for study time for each subject. However, the time commitment required can vary based on individual task management and planning skills, familiarity with the material, reading style and speed.

Single subjects

You can also study single subjects to contribute to your professional development. For more information, please contact Student Support.

Explore this course

Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this certificate.