I'm an RN that currently works for a home health agency. I am considering hospice nursing, but am hesitant to go into it. My question for all of you in hospice nursing is, how did you know it was for you? Had you ever experienced death before and how did being part of a person's death affect you. Not to sound childish, but isn't it incredibly sad to see someone die. Seems like it would be a depressing job. But on the other hand, many people love the job. So what I'm trying to ask I guess is, why do you love it, do you feel depressed a lot from the death you see?
Thanks for your replies
Nov 29, '07
I'm not in hospice but I plan to work there once I complete my RN. I'm an LPN who has worked mostly with the geriatric population.
There came a point, for me, that I became angry at us for prolonging lives that were just miserable. I came to see death as a release and blessing for many people.
Now, I haven't worked with younger folks with terminal illnesses. But I think I would be honored to help ease their transition into whatever comes next, and to alleviate their pain while they're here.
Nov 29, '07
As far as my frame of reference is concerned, all of us reach a point in life..and die. My years in nursing gave me understanding that the death was inevitable but HOW the person died and the impact on loved ones could be influenced for the better. I knew that I could be part of that better way and so I do hospice nursing.
Probably more important than the question, "Is hospice for me?, is the question, "Which hospice is for me?".
Nov 29, '07
Suesquatch, very insightful. Hospice nursing is all about assisting the patient transition from this life to the next as peacefully and comfortably as possible. It is not about death! Best wishes!
Dec 4, '07
I worked in acute care hospitals for close to two decades. I finally started noticing that nurses caring for patients who were on "comfort care" orders didn't seem to have alot of knowledge or preparation for the new goals of care. As a result, they seemed afraid to carry out orders for end-of-life comfort meds, etc, and patients were not really comfortable. Repeatedly, I saw nurses undermedicate patients because they did not c/o pain-- never mind that they were tense and grimacing but couldn't c/o pain. They seemed afraid they'd kill the patients by overmedicating them, so they undermedicated instead.
I wanted to learn more about palliative care and nursing, so I started doing some research. At about the same time, I found myself getting burned out on acute care nursing. I made a list of all the things I wanted to get out of my "ideal" job, and when I compared hospice nursing to my list, it was an almost exact match!
I LOVE hospice nursing. Every day, I feel I make a real difference, and have the autonomy to try new and creative solutions that are tailored to each patients' needs. I don't think I'll ever return to acute care nursing!
Yes, it is a sad time, and as a hospice nurse, you have a more intimate relationship with your patients and their families. However, it is just this that allows you to really make a difference in a most critical time in a family's history. Helping people to see death as a natural end to life, and helping them get past their fears to help their loved one have a "good death" is an extremely rewarding thing.
Jan 1, '08
I'm not anywhere near being a nurse yet, but your question interested me. I seen my grandmother die (1st time to ever experience) and since then was also interested in the hospice avenue. It was a peaceful passing and maybe that was why I felt that this whole deal wasn't this horrible experience. As I go into nursing I might feel differenty if a patient has incredible pain.....however, I have a complete different mindset as to what truely is death. Actually it is not as much of a death....but a re-birth. All I could think was that this must be the best day of their lives! To be able to go on to reunite with those gone before them. The hardest is those that are young, but I truely believe in a larger reason for everything! What time they gave to us was their gift and purpose.
Jan 2, '08
I was sitting at my Dad's bedside holding his hand when they unplugged the respirator. I held his hand till beyond his last breath. At that moment, I realized that I had been afraid of death for far too long and it wasn't as I had made it out to be in my head.
I work in a Med Surg floor right now (was scheduled to go into hospice full time on Monday, but having some issues w/ the hospital) and as much as I love my job and my patients, I feel that I have too many to care for, and I can't spend the time with them that I want to. Most of the time it's "just checking in" to see if they need turned, repositioned, changed, etc., and I don't like this. I want to be able to spend time with my patients.
When someone mentioned hospice, something clicked. I felt drawn. And when I start, I'm hoping that I will make a difference before my patients pass.
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