Odd title, I know. I don't know if it's proper etiquette to ask for advice from a specific member, but I did. And, GrnTea, maybe you have done hospice nursing; I don't know. I know you have said in previous posts that you have done a lot of different things in nursing, including ICU. So, I'm playing my odds.
So, here's my question for all ICU nurses who have transitioned into hospice nursing. (And, GrnTea who has done ICU, but may or may not have done hospice; you just tend to give really good advice, so I'm hoping for the law of averages here in that you'll, too, give me stellar advice lol).
What was the transition like? Were you happy you made the switch from ICU to hospice? Or did you regret it? Is there the kind of rapport in hospice that there is in ICU? Do you get to direct care like we do in the ICU? You see, I don't hate my job. Or nursing. I understand that no job is perfect, and my job is way better than other jobs I could be doing because I do make a difference.
Yes, even when I have to run all over the unit looking for IV channels that I called for an hour ago anticipating that my patient that is now crashing is, indeed, crashing. Yes, even when the family asks me to pull the patient up in bed even though I just did 2 minutes ago, and restless 300 lb patient slides down in bed. Again. I'm not a disgruntled employee looking to run away from the bedside. I applied for a bedside position as a hospice nurse in a hospice house because I enjoy direct care.
I don't hate the ICU. I enjoy it most of the time, but the reasons I applied for a hospice position are probably apparent to anybody who has worked in ICU for any length of time. (I haven't been an ICU nurse forever, just a few years). But, I have seen medical futility. I have seen good deaths, and I have seen bad deaths. I find that the most rewarding part of my job has been terminal weans, and end of life care.
Advocating for my patient at end of life and having the team initiate that discussion with family, easing the transition. Helping to make the patient as comfortable as possible during the dying process are some of my most rewarding days. I have had families ask me to follow them to the hospice floor during those times. (Obviously, it is equally rewarding when a patient makes a full recovery, but elderly people with multiple comorbitities have the odds stacked against them).
It's a tough decision, and right now, I don't even have the decision to make. I just started the interview process. I'm very, very excited about the potential opportunity, and I think that if I get the opportunity, I will ask for a shadow day to ensure how satisfied the staff are, staffing ratios, etc.
But, it looks like a beautiful facility. Holistic. A place where the dying can die in peace. And, with dignity. A place as home-like as possible. I always feel bad when my patient dies in the ICU after a few weeks of treatment, but understand that that's just the way it is sometimes. I do believe that hospice care is greatly under-utilized. Treat, treat is the modality, and that's not always appropriate.
If you made it to the end, I applaud you. And, I appreciate your time. I love Allnurses!
. I just learned about Haldol for intractable nausea, and Haldol Gummy Bears in hospice from none other than.....the hospice section on Allnurses! We're a pretty awesome group, aren't we? (Meaning everybody on Allnurses is awesome, not just the hospice section