I just finished my 1st year of nursing and will graduate next May. I have pictured myself as a hospice nurse, even before I entered nursing school
! I was with my step-dad who battled lung cancer for 7 months before he passed away. His death was the first that I have experienced, and I was surprised by the experience. I was witness to him slowly dying day by day, lose of his independence little by little, pain (which was managed very well), and eventually he lost his hope (which was the worst of all for me to see). When he died, surrounded by his family, I felt relief that he was no longer suffering...no more pain. I am a spiritual person, and I found the experience of being with a human as they transitioned from earth to heaven, very rewarding. I felt honored to have been there...I was also relieved that he didn't die alone! That was my worst fear as his disease progressed. I was very sad at the loss of my step-dad, but never felt anger as I knew where he went...no more pain, no more suffering. From then on, almost 2 years, I have wanted to be a hospice nurse. Even though I am spiritual, I realize that not everyone is, and I am not preachy about my beliefs. I am just explaining my experience.
I would like to hear from hospice nurses, if I can be trained as a hospice nurse right out of college, or if I have to "do my time" in a specialty such as Med-Surg? The thought of working in Med-Surg makes me nauseous! I would not be a good Med-Surg nurse, as having 4 or more patients to focus on at one time will not leave me any time to build a proper rapport with my patients. As I am still a student, having only 1 patient on clinical at a time, I haven't figured out how a nurse priorities care -- medications, wound care, trach treatment, foley insertion, and head-to-toe assessments! During clinical, I tend to spend more time with my patient than my classmates. I love talking to them and getting to know them. Being a hospice (or a home care) nurse appeals to me as well, because I would be with one patient at a time (as least from what I have read/heard). I am 32, never married, no kids, so being on-call, working nights/weekends isn't something that would bother me. I have lots of friends and family, and I do know that having a social life and taking care of myself would be of importance as a hospice nurse, so I don't burn-out. I just don't want to be any other kind of nurse, other than a hospice nurse!
Does anyone know of agencies who hire graduate hospice nurses? I currently live in PA, but will ultimately like to relocate to CA where I am originally from.
There is a hospital in my area that offers a 6-month internship for new home-care nurses. The first 3 months are spent in Med-Surg/Oncology and the next 3 months are spent training as a home-care nurse. I am thinking about applying for that, but there is certainly no guarantee that I would get it!
Any advice you have would be appreciated. Thank you!