I want to be a hospice nurse.....

  1. Hi all,
    I've been reading posts for a while here and finally decided to go ahead and ask for some advice. I'm in working towards becoming an RN and I am very interested in becoming a hospice nurse. I'm an adult returning to school, and I am pretty confident I can handle the emotional stresses this type of nursing, but I have to admit the one thing holding me back from pursuing this specialty is that all the investigating I've done says that the pay is lower than other areas of nursing.

    I don't want to pass up on entering an area that I think would be perfect for me just because of pay, but on the other hand I've spent a lot of years struggling to get by. So I'm pretty torn, does anyone have any advice to share? Am i misinformed? Are there some areas of hospice nursing that pay better than others? I really want to work in hospice but when I look at median incomes of different specialties it seems always lower. Are there things you feel make up for that enough to still consider it? I'd appreciate any insight, I really want to be a hospice nurse but I feel a responsibility to support my family as much as possible too. If it were just me I would go into it without hesitation, but maybe you all understand what I'm saying......:wink2:
    Thanks for your advice!
    laurel
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   suebird3
    I would suggest talking to some of the Hospices in your area. Do any of the Hospitals have Hospice Units? You can get some ideas from them.

    Suebird
  4. by   waitingforthedream
    Quote from laurel38
    Hi all,
    I've been reading posts for a while here and finally decided to go ahead and ask for some advice. I'm in working towards becoming an RN and I am very interested in becoming a hospice nurse. I'm an adult returning to school, and I am pretty confident I can handle the emotional stresses this type of nursing, but I have to admit the one thing holding me back from pursuing this specialty is that all the investigating I've done says that the pay is lower than other areas of nursing.

    I don't want to pass up on entering an area that I think would be perfect for me just because of pay, but on the other hand I've spent a lot of years struggling to get by. So I'm pretty torn, does anyone have any advice to share? Am i misinformed? Are there some areas of hospice nursing that pay better than others? I really want to work in hospice but when I look at median incomes of different specialties it seems always lower. Are there things you feel make up for that enough to still consider it? I'd appreciate any insight, I really want to be a hospice nurse but I feel a responsibility to support my family as much as possible too. If it were just me I would go into it without hesitation, but maybe you all understand what I'm saying......:wink2:
    Thanks for your advice!
    laurel
    Hi Laurel, I to am hoping to go into hospice after finishing nursing school. I start my clinicals in January and I am very excited. I to would like to make top dollar in the field, but that is not the reason for me going into it, I want it for the love of helping people. If you do not like the field that you are going into, what is the point? That is a quick burn out to me, for me to do what I love is more important then the pay. But if you need it to support your family, that is different. You need to take a long hard look at what would make you happier in the long run, you can always do hospice later! Check your local pay rates for nursing jobs in your area before you make your decision, there might not be much difference. Good luck in whatever area you choose. Martha
  5. by   EmptytheBoat
    Many Hospices require 1-2 years of nursing experience, you may want to
    check your area. In this area Hospice pay is comparable to other areas, but usually not the differentials. You can make more money in Hospice if you add on-call to full-time status. Best wishes!
  6. by   jrbl77
    i will be starting a new job with a hospice program in the next few weeks. i have had plenty of med surg expeience and i feel that will help me alot. as far as pay- i was making top nurse pay at my hospital job and took about a $7.00 per hr pay cut. but money is not always what it is all about. this is a change i am looking forward to. my family would rather have me make less money than stay stressed at my current job.
  7. by   leslie :-D
    i have to agree with the others.
    hospice isn't the top-paying specialty, but it's adequate.
    i think it depends on what your priorities are.
    sometimes i think that one has to experience the true stressors in nsg, before one can fully appreciate the trade-off between salary and inner peace.

    much luck to you.

    leslie
  8. by   doodlemom
    I agree. You will never make in hospice what you do at the top of the pay scale at the hospital - but you are also not as stressed out and standing on your feet all day. Hospice nursing is much easier on the body - that's worth a lot, especially for those of us who are getting older and cannot take the physical wear and tear of the hospital.
  9. by   aginggracefully
    Hello. I am 50 years old and have worked in hospitals, home health and currently Hospice home care. I plan to start traveling in Spring 2007 and hope to stay in Hospice. It is all true that the pay is lower. I accept this because Hospice is more in line with my philosophy of life and nursing. I no longer wish the heroic-ego-driven-high stress medical model of nursing. People should die with grace; death is a part of life. I assist where I can. No more jumping on 98 year old chests to do compressions!! Its just too absurd to me. Please contact me if you have any Hospice questions.
  10. by   SCgirl1962
    I agree with the post above from EmptytheBoat. I think to be a good Hospice nurse, you need a strong foundation in the medical/surgical field which usually comes from hospital experience. I also took a cut in pay when going to Hospice, but there are always trade-offs in any job. I have more flexibility in my time, no rotating shifts, I make my own schedule and work at my own pace ( usually ) After being in all types of nursing - from administrative to staff nursing to working in the OR / ER - this is the most rewarding. BUT... it's not the easiest. Far from it. It takes an emotional toll as well as a physical one on you sometimes.
  11. by   belfry
    I was an older student, as nursing is a second career for me. I did one year med-surg tele on the floor, and then went to hospice. For me, hospice was a $3.50 per hour raise, add to that flexibility, no weekends, and no aching feet and legs, plus the pace is so much healthier 99% of the time. Where I work is flexible, when you see your folks you are done, as long as you keep your phone with you all is well.... It is rough emotionally at times, but look for a place that has good support for the staff and you will find that peer support counts for a lot.

    I, too, hated the "keep them alive no matter what" mentality that I saw at times at the hospital. But to be perfectly honest, I do miss the hospital too...did a lot more "nurse-y" stuff and I did like that....IV's hanging blood, learning about tons of different stuff all the time. It's all a trade-off, I suppose. But hospice works for me, now. And I do feel that what I do makes a difference, both to patient and family. Lots of time to educate and support.

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