As I recent grad and a new hospice nurse, I see what you're saying. Hospice nursing is a whole different thing. There are times I feel I'm not "doing" anything. I rarely use the skills I learned in school. I don't change dressings or give meds (my patients are in nursing homes). I take vitals at each visit and assess all the things others have stated. I know my patients better than the nurses who work at the facility. Generally, it is me that comes to facility staff and notifies them that there is a change, or death is imminent.
In hospice, it is all about comfort. Comfort in the physical sense and the pyschological sense for BOTH the patient and the family. I have one patient who likes to hold my hand and push my hair behind my ears, so that's what we do at each visit. I have another patient who likes to watch "Jerry Springer" and although I feel dumber for doing it, that is what I do.
Those are the days that I feel "lazy" and less nurse-like.
Come follow me on a day when my patient is "tanking" and you will see phone calls to familiy members, meds given (depending on facility) and possibly tears.
I recently had a patient pass and the daughter called me to ask if I would come to the service. I informed her I would be out of town, but would be thinking of her. She stated that they would reschedule the service so I could be there as I was such a huge part of her mom being able to die comfortably. I was (and am) honored.
If you are interested in being a hospice nurse I would suggest becoming a volunteer.