Advice for a New Grad

  1. I will be graduating in May '04 with an ADN/RN. Throughout my program, hospice has been calling me. My favorite patients have always been those who are close to the end and I truly think I have a gift for being with people and their families in their final stages of life.

    That said, I'm exactly two months from graduation and I have no idea where to go! I feel in my heart that I will end up in hospice but I have no idea what route to take. Do I start at a big hospital, gain some acute care experience, then move on to hospice? Do I start in LTC (when I suggested this to some of my classmates and instructors, they had a look of disgust)? Do I go straight into hospice and find an organization that's willing to train me? If I do decide to get some floor experience, what would be the best experience to get? All advice appreciated!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Blackcat99
    I think it is helpful for new grads to go to the big hospitals first and get one year of acute nursing experience before they do anything else. That is my opinion. Good Luck and congratulations!
  4. by   aimeee
    Quote from ManEnough
    Do I start in LTC (when I suggested this to some of my classmates and instructors, they had a look of disgust)?
    That burns me! I've seen that look myself! LTC is not for everyone obviously, but you go where you wish. If you do chose LTC, try to get on a Skilled nursing unit rather than a basic one so you get a broader exposure and can utilize and hone your technical skills. Another good choice is an LTACH unit if you have one in your area. Those two areas will allow you to experience more end of life care but also have the chance to really get to know your patients over time.

    A year or so of med-surg is good for experience and exposure to just about everything, and some time spent on the oncology unit is also great background.

    You will feel much more comfortable as a hospice nurse, and much more secure in your decisions in the field, if you have some experience in one or more of these areas.
  5. by   ManEnough
    Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely leaning toward that one year of experience at a large hospital and going from there. As for the negative connotations of LTC, it saddens me. Some of the best nurses I've ever met worked in LTC. Yet another misconception we need to work on..
  6. by   rollingstone
    If you really want to work hospice see if someone will take you on as a new grad and train you.
  7. by   NURSE NANCY
    it is so important to have at least 1 year of med/surg expreience before comming into hospice. i have been a nurse since 1978. the last 10 years i have worked in hospice. LTC is not the same experience that you would get in a hospital setting. you would get much more experience on a medical/sergical unit in a hospital setting. good luck to you. nursenancy



    Quote from ManEnough
    I will be graduating in May '04 with an ADN/RN. Throughout my program, hospice has been calling me. My favorite patients have always been those who are close to the end and I truly think I have a gift for being with people and their families in their final stages of life.

    That said, I'm exactly two months from graduation and I have no idea where to go! I feel in my heart that I will end up in hospice but I have no idea what route to take. Do I start at a big hospital, gain some acute care experience, then move on to hospice? Do I start in LTC (when I suggested this to some of my classmates and instructors, they had a look of disgust)? Do I go straight into hospice and find an organization that's willing to train me? If I do decide to get some floor experience, what would be the best experience to get? All advice appreciated!
  8. by   fergus51
    There are hospitals with hospice units. A friend of mine went to work on one as a new grad and had an excellent experience. She is still working on hospice, but now in the community.
  9. by   mjamesRN
    One our newly-appointed Clinical Directors stepped out of school into hospice 7 years ago. She never worked the floor. I guess if you want to jump right in, go for it and learn as you go -- however, I agree with some of the other nurses' posts here, a good solid year or more of Med-Surg or Oncology will prepare you. You still need to utilize alot of basic skills in hospice and you'll sharpen these and not have to second-guess yourself when working hands-on with hospice patients.
  10. by   fab4fan
    Get some good m/s exp first. Onco would be good, too, but hospices are taking on a lot of non-cancer dx pts, so m/s would be helpful.

    You really should have a good working familiarity with some of the basic dieases. It will make things much easier for you.

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