Hospice Nursing as a New Nurse

  1. Hello,
    I have an interview for a home health hospice nurse coming up, and I wanted a little input/advice before I would take the job if it were offered to me.
    I have been an RN for almost 6 months and for that time I've been working on the pediatric floor at our local hospital. I always thought pediatrics would be the best fit for me, but over the last couple of months I've started to have some concerns. I'm working the night shift, which I know is contributing to some of my problems, but coming to work and being in the hospital setting is causing a lot of panic and anxiety.
    Before becoming an RN I was a CNA for almost 3 years at an assisted living facility and I loved it! I had some exposure to end of life care there as well and since then it has been an area of nursing that I am very interested in. Working night shift I don't have the interaction with my patients that I loved as a CNA. Also, a good majority of my patients are very young and unable to communicate even if they were awake. Part of what brought me to nursing was that as a CNA I developed good relationships with my patients and their families, but that's not something I'm getting in the hospital.
    I guess my question is, how are the stressor of home health nursing different from hospital nursing? If I'm having a hard time handling the pace of a hospital am I crazy to want to go to hospice nursing? Is 6 months of acute care experience enough to establish myself for home hospice nursing?
    Thanks for any and all input. I really want to make an informed decision regarding this job.
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   RNBearColumbus
    Starting in hospice after working for 6 months in pediatrics will be difficult, but doable. It all depends on how open and teachable you are. Your experience in LTC as a CNA will be some help, but you've never worked with that population as a nurse. Hospice is definitely not a "fluff" specialty and there will be a lot to learn and even UNlearn. ( Understanding comfort meds like morphine and Ativan for example.).

    Have you thought about working for a year or so in a skilled nursing environment or a med surg unit? I've done both over the years and found that experience invaluable when I made the jump to home hospice.
  4. by   ahagen94
    Thank you for your input! Yes, I have considered skilled care nursing - maybe that's something I should look into more.
  5. by   Danni10
    I agree it will be difficult if you have only done peds for 6 months. With hospice, you are basically on your own, having to make decisions by yourself, you can call or email a manager but a lot of times it's just you. You really need a good med/surg, ICU or ER background. With hospice, the family look to you for answers and solve problems, even with experience hospice is very difficult. It's doable but won't be easy.