Told I'll burn out on hospic

  1. I mentioned to a collegue that I see myself doing hospice eventually. She did and loved it. However, she warned me that eventually it gets you down, when all your patients die.

    What is your experience with this. Do you find it take a toll on you? Of course it must effect you, but is it a reason nurses leave hospic? This is the first time I have heard a nurse say this about hospic.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    My aunt has done hospice for 14 years. She eventually needed a break from it because of the stress you described. It was right after her 4 month old patient passed away. She took a leave of absense for a year, but is back at it and says she never regrets her choice to work in hospice.
  4. by   chawk
    I have been doing Hospice work now for 9 yrs and I love it as much now or even better now than when I started. True, I guess someday I might burn out but I seriously doubt it. You do get emotionally drained, but you get so much back from pts and family that it is usually a good trade off. Hope this helps
  5. by   lindajean
    I don't know if you'll burn out but I sure have. I like Hospice nursing and think I'm a good Hospice nurse but, when I have deaths occur closely in time, it really gets me down. My coworkers have told me they can't depend on me because I'm alway "breaking down". I feel that their coldness to my situation is making it worse. I have worked in one Hospice and wonder if other Hospices have programs to help nurses deal with this or if any of you have any of suggestions on how you deal with it.
  6. by   nurseT
    I have been working hospice 4 yrs. I do love this work. I have alot to give others and have been thanked by my pts for working in a humanitarian fashion. I have been attached to many of my pts and do feel sad when they pass, however I also feel my work was completed and am able to get right to the next case. I look at each new case with eagerness and wonder what this pt will teach me. There is much stress in this type of work, alot actually. However you're attitude going into the area makes a huge difference. I have learned alot, and with wisdom comes alot of sadness. I have grown personally from each experience and have never been sorry. There were other areas that I was really sorry I entered, but not hospice.
  7. by   LISAJO
    I've been working with hospice patients for a little over a year now....Never had experience with hospice prior to my present job, when I was hired I told the supervisor I would let her know in two weeks if I could handle this job. Like I said it's been over a year and I still haven't gave her the answer...You do get burned out. I find that my job is very rewarding, and I love all my families and patients. Didn't think I would be able to do Hospice care but now I can't see doing anything else.
  8. by   Agnus
    Thank you I will be looking into the hospic companies here, soon. I do wonder about being on call though?
  9. by   teamrn
    I was a hospice RN for 9 years and loved every minute of my job; I'd still be doing it if it were my choice, but I had some health concerns. Sometimes in the field when I'd be driving around from home to home, I'd pinch myself, saying, "someone PAYS me to do the work I love?". (sounds a bit Pollyannaish, but it was true).

    Yes, people died, but then I felt they were at peace, and completely out of physical/emotional/spiritual pain and I felt that then I'd done my job as a nursing professional. I continue/d to memorialize them and remember the family members when I drive near or by their homes, and I'd remembe the fun times after a visit meeting w/ the patient and/or famiily in the kitchen over a cup of coffee.

    I don't know how other programs do their on-call, but I do know from my previous agency, that that one posed a problem on occasion. Maybe others have it worked out differently. Check it out.

    I found hospice to be nourishing for the soul, and 18 months away from it, I still feel part of it, and continue to remain good friends with some of my TEAM-members. If hospice doesn't reflect the true TEAM approach to patient care, in my mind, nothing does!
  10. by   tex
    I worked as a Hospice nurse for >4yrs. I wouldn't trade my experience and knowledge I obtained for anything in the world. It has made me appreciate all patients with illness of all sorts. I am still intrigued with ways to make patients comfortable with the use of modern medicine w/o use of one needle. I am better at resolving n/v, constipation, poor intake, decline in ADL's, and espically the most important aspect the appreciation of what the patient and the families have for a compassionate nurse that truly cares. Tex

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