Current Concepts in Chemotherapy

An online continuing education course for nurses, medical health care professionals, and other interested individuals.

This instructional course has been designed for clinicians administering and/or caring for the patient receiving chemotherapy. Both clinicians involved in infusing chemotherapeutic agents and those caring for patients receiving these medications need a working knowledge of the diagnoses for which they are given, side effects of the drugs, appropriate nursing interventions, and the psychological implications of having these diseases and receiving treatment for them. These drugs are double-edged swords. They can both cure cancer and cause cancer. They are associated with more side effects and more serious side effects than most other medications clinicians administer. Therefore, education related specifically to chemotherapy is crucial to the safe and effective use of these drugs.

State Boards of Nursing have varying positions on the role of the LPN/LVN in the administration of infusion therapy, including the administration of chemotherapeutic agents. A link to each state board of nursing is listed here. Competency requirements are obtained and maintained through the clinician’s employer, facility or institution. This course provides 3 contact hours of continuing education.

In early 2016, the Infusion Nurses Society (INS), recognized as the global authority in infusion therapy, released the updated Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice. The INS sets the accepted standards for infusion therapy practice for all healthcare settings. This course is based on the current best practices as defined by the Infusion Nursing Society and other governing agencies such as the CDC, and FDA.

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Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  1. Define how chemotherapy is used in cancer management.
  2. List the major chemotherapy drug classifications and their general mechanisms of action.
  3. Identify the major side effects/toxicities of chemotherapeutic agents.
  4. Describe safe chemotherapy handling techniques.
  5. Describe appropriate chemotherapy administration.
  6. Recognize common psychological effects in patients receiving chemotherapy.



Chapter 1: Introduction to Chemotherapy

  • Definition
  • Goals of Chemotherapy
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chemotherapy Approaches

Chapter 2: Chemotherapy Drug Classifications

  • Cell-cycle Specificity
  • Mechanism of Action
  • Alkylating Agents
  • Antimetabolites
  • Antitumor Antibiotics
  • Mitotic Inhibitors
  • Topoisomerase Inhibitors
  • Miscellaneous
  • Cytoprotective Agents

Chapter 3: Chemotherapy Side Effects

  • Myelosuppression
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Integumentary
  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Renal
  • Neurologic
  • Reproductive

Chapter 4: Safe Handling

  • Preparation
  • Administration
  • Disposal
  • Bodily Discharges

Chapter 5: Administration

  • Pre-administration Activities
  • Routes of Administration

Chapter 6: Psychological Effects

  • Grief
  • Loss of Status
  • Desirability
  • Long-term Concerns

Chapter 7: References

  • California Bill 241
  • Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Implications of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • How to Reduce Implicit Bias
  • References
  • About the Author

Price: $36.00

Contact Hours: 3

Course Author

Pamela Clark

Pamela Clark, CRNI, is an infusion nurse with the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. She has more than 35 years of experience in infusion therapy and infusion education with both licensed nurses and patients. Her experience spans multiple infusion settings including: acute care, long-term care, home infusion, and ambulatory infusion care. She also has experience in oncology and oncology research.

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Course Accreditation

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