Palliative Care Nurse

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    I am considering the route to be a palliative care nurse. However, I am not sure what challenges I will be facing. Can you give me ideas, experiences you had and probably possible challenges I will face? What about the palliative care services in your facility? Help! Thanks
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    Hello. Good luck to you on your decision about whether to do nursing work in palliative care. Have you considered calling a local Hospice organization and making arrangements to talk with some of the nurses who work at this agency?
    I have heard good reports from families who had loved ones receiving hospice care. Though I have never worked as a hospice nurse, I certainly have given nursing care to many patients who were not expected to live---two of the biggest challenges I experienced in this type of patient care were pain management for the patient and counseling for the depressed family members. Best wishes to you.
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    Just be aware that palliative and hospice care can be two different things. Palliative care concerns itself with quality of life issues, just like hospice, but includes those people who are still actively pursuing life-prolonging treatment as well as those who have stopped all but comfort measures. Many hospitals have a palliative care service that consults when asked.
    tewdles, jascallme, and leslie :-D like this.
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    Quote from ocean waves
    Hello. Good luck to you on your decision about whether to do nursing work in palliative care. Have you considered calling a local Hospice organization and making arrangements to talk with some of the nurses who work at this agency?
    I have heard good reports from families who had loved ones receiving hospice care. Though I have never worked as a hospice nurse, I certainly have given nursing care to many patients who were not expected to live---two of the biggest challenges I experienced in this type of patient care were pain management for the patient and counseling for the depressed family members. Best wishes to you.


    Thanks! And I think cultural diversity can be challenging for me too. Haayyy..
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    Oh, thank you for clarifying that. Absolutely, palliative and hospice are 2 different services however they can be linked together Now, I have to explore the palliative care service in my organization since "I" will be there (when I become a palliative care nurse) when families are considering the care. I said to myself, I believe I wanted a different route now, I had fair amount of experience with med-surg, ICU and Peds. I have seen patients who struggled, suffered and fought... unfortunately some died. But, I think this will be a fulfilling new job. Thanks
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    I work on a Med/Surg floor with an Oncology wing. As it stands, we generally get any and all patients who are battling cancer. That being said, there is usually patient on our floor who is either inpatient Hospice care or soon to be discharged home with Hospice. I am a young, new, male nurse and I can certainly handle death and dying but this is a sad area to work in and it does take a special person to handle the pressures that come along. You will run in to families in denial (which is a struggggggle sometimes), difficult families, vast cultural differences, and a constant struggle to remain emotionally detached. I do wish you the best and all the luck. I hope this helps!
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    Hospice care and palliative care nursing are fundamentally linked by their promotion of quality of life and comfort. The primary difference between the two is the hospice requirement for abandonment of curative treatment. IMHO however, that line is becoming increasingly blurred as more and more hospices embrace more "open door" philosophies in order to provide the home palliation of obnoxious symptoms (something that too many hospital based palliative teams do not provide). Billing is an issue in this area.

    Hospice or palliative care nursing can be extremely rewarding career choices. And, just like any nursing specialty has it's own flavor of risks and dangers. Ours include things like cummulative grief, isolation, etc. Good boundaries and self care are important in these specialties.

    You only have to be as diverse as your service area. For me that means I need to be able to take care of pretty much any religion but especially Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu. For others maybe not so diverse. It can be challenging to keep track of basic custums or rituals for other faiths and cultures...but rewarding when you do.

    I believe that hospice nurses have to be smart. But I also think that they have to be "people" people. Relationship building is a key skill for any hospice worker. There has to be trust and respect in the relationships.
    leslie :-D likes this.


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