Am I crazy to take a hospice job?

  1. 0
    Hello Dear RN's

    I recently had an interview to become a patient care coordinator with hospice. I got the job! Im so excited! I've never done hospice, but I do feel it is calling my name. I am now doubtful, is the right thing to do? will it be emotionally draining? Will I lose my nursing skills? (start IV's, deal with central lines, tubes, etc etc. It seems like a fairly flexible job, but I will trade 12 hr shifts for 8's. Anyway, I just want some guidance from the hospice nurses out there, a little reassurance would be awesome too!

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  2. 23 Comments...

  3. 1
    I took a hospice job "on a whim". Love, love hospice. Set boundaries and I don't think you will feel an emotional drain. Also, make sure you have a good work-life balance. Good luck to you!!
    tewdles likes this.
  4. 0
    I think you will love it too, so long as you have supportive bosses and staff members that will be patient while you learn what you are doing. There is A LOT to learn! It can be very demanding at times. The PCCs at my company do not see patients very often, not sure how it works where you are. If that remains the case, you may not find it so enjoyable as your contact with patients will be extremely limited. I hope it works out for you!
  5. 0
    Good for you! Welcome to hospice!
    It sounds like you will be a field visit nurse? Case Manager?
    Dependent upon where you practice you may have high acuity hospice patients who have tubes, drains, caths, etc. (if they are in the hospital they may well be in the community)

    I will look forward to reading about your journey.
  6. 1
    Congrats! I hope you love hospice, i did. I think every unit has areas where one learns/hones a specific skill set, and the skill set you learn and hone in hospice, is invaluable, imo, and will serve you well no matter where you end up, you can bring what you learned in hospice with you.
    When i worked hospice, everyone always asked me, "Oh, isn't that so depressing?"
    but, i didn't feel depressed, maybe, cuz i felt i was usually providing actual help, of all various kinds, to the patient and to their family, at a time when it couldn't be needed more.
    I also felt LESS frustration in hospice, frankly, than i'd encountered in many unit settings-- where lack of time forced me to skimp now and then on caring for the people. To me, that was sometimes a drawback to other areas of nursing.
    TakdaHDRN likes this.
  7. 3
    Hospice is a blessing!! Keeps your life in perspective!!!
    juice719, sclpn, and fireball78 like this.
  8. 0
    I was in your shoes when I took on a hospice job too. 8 years later, I haven't looked back. There are apprehension only because it is new. I found I had a knack for hospice, and loved the interaction with the pts. and families. If you are out in the field you will not have as many skills you will be applying as you would in the hospital setting, however there will be other skills you will learn such as how to think on your toes being out in the field, and working with the resources you have. You will also learn a little about doing social work helping the families through these difficult times, and helping them to find resources to make it through. All in all I found it very rewarding. It is emotional stressful at times, so you have to give yourself the allowance to "just take a break". The hospice company I worked for had great benefits. Lots of time off. I learned it was for good reason. You do need it, because you work hard at your job. I hope you will find you love it as much as I found I did. Good luck!
  9. 2
    Hospice Nursing may seem emotionally demanding at first, but in my experience, you will soon develop self satisfaction that comes from providing compassionate & professional care. On the downside, Hospice has become big buisness, with Hospice providers losing sight of the caring part of health care.
    As a supervisor, you may find yourself overwhelmed by your job demands, depending on your employer and their focus. At some point, you may feel uncomfortable with the evolution of Hospice from a caring focus to that of profit-driven "euthanasia light" where even non profit Hospice organizations exist mainly to make money for the management team even as they host community wide fund raisers, utilize volunteers, etc. No matter the corporate structure; if your day starts with a "management meeting" led by the head of Marketing, you are likely in the wrong hospice organization. Beware of hospice organizations that seem factory like or focused on future "opportunities" and big government regulations.
    Hairy Hospice not exactly your dream job? Get get some experience then find a "good" hospice & move on. I hope that the organization that you work for (or find) is one where employees at all levels share in decisionmaking and experience the positive aspects of hospice care, while providing patient and family driven care, rather than one based on outcome$ and cadaver-count based big government reimbur$ement.
    katie'sangel and jeannepaul like this.
  10. 1
    I find myself seconding what each of the previous posters have said. One must go into Hospice with eyes and ears open. I have been fortunate to have been a part of 3 good (patient focused) hospice agencies in two states. I know of others not so. I have seen some change, IMO, for the worse.
    An agency must do business well in order to stay in business - so that patients may die free of anxiety, pain and fear, and their families find coping, support, healing and Peace.

    As a former Pastor who had parishioners on hospice and Army Reserve Hospital Chaplain who served in Desert Storm before becoming an RN, I found it helpful to realize that the patient's family was in a curiously similar position to a pre-surgical patient anticipating an amputation. The Family unit was going to lose an integral member. Realizing too, that the terminal patient and each person directly involved in the care and caring, was at a different place in the anticipatory grief process - and the more they were able to talk about how it was being for them, the better they were able to cope.
    It was my experience that the patients' physicians depended upon us Nurses to communicate the needs of the patients.
    Two books I found helpful in my processes along the way were: Final Gifts: Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelly, and Feel The Fear ... and Do It Anyway: Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

    Hospice Nursing is, IMO, a high calling, a significant responsibility and a remarkable experience not many are given. An important discovery for me was that, with the teams of which I was a part, was that the borders between disciplines would "become blurry" PRN. The commonality was what we liked to call, "The Hospice Heart".

    To my mind, one of the most precious things a Hospice worker can hear are the words, "I don't think I could have made it without you."

    I wish you well in your journey.
    RipeTomato likes this.
  11. 0
    Wow, as I read all of your posts, I grow more and more convinced that I'm making the right call by going into hospice. Thank you to all of you for your enlightening answers. You have helped me tremendously. I can't wait to tell all of you about my journey, but I have to wait until I start. (I'll probably begin the first week of January.) thanks again! I'm still welcoming opinions, so if you'd like to add something, please write with reckless abandon! !

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