Why Hospice Nursing?

  1. 0
    Just curious. During my undergraduate rotation we visited a hospice and I was impressed with the dignity with which the nurses treated their patients (for example... making sure they were not just a room number).

    I read somewhere that hospice nursing has high satisfaction ratings.

    I've often thought about switching to hospice from rehabilitation nursing.

    How did you choose to become a hospice nurse and would you say you are more satisfied now than in a previous field of nursing?
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    okay, time to get out my soapbox!!

    hospice is wonderful because it is one of the few areas in nursing that is truly holistic and involves an interdiciplinary team.

    usually you get to know the patient and family well and become an important safe harbor during a rough time. you laugh and cry with them, listen and not judge, help relieve physical and spiritual pain, and maintain the value of a human being until their last breath--and beyond.

    you either enrich your own spiritual life--or leave hospice in a hurry. you learn what really matters in this life while seeing so many people transition to the next. your own life suddenly looks different, and maybe you see life thru a different set of glasses.

    like everything else, its not perfect, and certainly not for everyone. there are frustrating days and frustrating families, calls to an unheated trailer at 2 am in jaunuary, and more patients than you have hours, sometimes.

    overall, if you shadow a hospice nurse for even a day, you'll know whether you love it or hate it. there is very little middle ground here.

    best of luck to you......:redpinkhe
    VivaLasViejas, mc3, and mom and nurse like this.
  5. 0
    Thanks for your response (especially the idea to shadow a hospice nurse for a day). I think that would be a great idea!
  6. 2
    obviously, i am passionate about hospice. i'm not currently in hospice because of a move, and the fact that the local hospital-based hospice picked a floor nurse without any hospice background over me--a certified hospice and palliative care nurse. it's a tiny town, and if you didn't go to their nursing school, you're "out"....

    but, it hasn't changed my love for hospice in general. as i said, not for everyone, and if you are uncomfortable with death, a really bad idea. personally, i am a serious christain, but it doesn't matter what higher power you trust in...as long as you don't think physical death is the end, or an evil to be avoided. ..... no one gets outta here alive!!!

    please feel free to pm me anytime--and maybe the mods will move this to the hospice thread for more input. i have no claim to being "the" hospice nurse, and speak only for myself. you will soon know if you have a "hospice heart" or not. sendings blessings your way!!:redpinkhe
    mom and nurse and VivaLasViejas like this.
  7. 1
    Thank you for the enthusiastic 'plug' for hospice, BlueRidge! I'm seriously considering making the switch myself, and it's great to hear about the job from someone who knows whereof she speaks.

    It sounds mostly wonderful..........of course all jobs have their downsides, but this would be a huge change of pace and probably do me a lot of good. I appreciate the perspective!
    BlueRidgeHomeRN likes this.
  8. 3
    Hospice is very rewarding and if you are visiting patients in their homes, it is a very autonomous job. It is a holistic nursing job and it gives you a chance to work with many different disciplines that you might not otherwise work with as closely in a different setting. It does make you question your own mortality, and it is hard if you are like me and have issues with faith and the hereafter and all that jazz. So far I love it, and I've done it for over a year.
  9. 1
    I have been a Hospice nurse for 8 years now and agree with the above comments. It has been such an honor and privilege being with patients who are about to leave this earth and cross over to the next level whatever that means to them. It truly is the only job I've had where I can care for the whole patient and their family as they journey together in the final phase of this life. I have prayed with them, sang to them and been a friend or member of the family. I have been closer to a few more than others, but always treat everyone the same, with knidness, love and respect. I hope you will find this to be your calling, for it truely is a calling for me.
    BlueRidgeHomeRN likes this.
  10. 1
    You know, some people have touched on this obliquely, but I would say that some of the qualities that are helpful to be able to do hospice are:
    • A lack of a need to control things
    • An ability to meet people where they are
    • An ability to live with ambiguity
    • The ability to be non-judgmental to an extreme degree
    • A real love for families and family dynamics in all their messy glory
    • The ability to be autonomous but still part of a team
    • A commitment to self-care
    Yes, it can be amazing, beautiful, moving, uplifting, and to my mind, always an honor to be with people in this most vulnerable time, that doesn't mean you don't deal with plenty of cranky, "non-compliant," (I have that term!) people that live in chaotic, dysfunctional families with lots of very different belief systems. If you can't roll w/that, you'll be miserable in hospice.
    aimeee likes this.
  11. 2
    Several years before I decided to go to nursing school, I became interested in Hospice and took a 50-hr. course that, when completed, allowed me to volunteer.

    When I went to nursing school, I had Hospice in mind. I received my license in March (2008) and a job in LTC fell into my lap, so I took it. Long story short is that it was SO NOT for me! I decided to apply with a local hospice and thankfully, was hired.

    I now work at a lovely 10-bed Hospice facility. I get to actually be a nurse rather than merely a pill-pusher (makes me shudder when I think of the ratio in LTC). While I'm busy and have no time for a break, I feel like I'm truly taking care of these gentle people and am learning much from them. When I applied with Hospice, I had hoped to be doing home visits, and wasn't too excited initially about the facility. They tell me that soon I will be doing both- home and facility, and while I'm looking forward to what's to come, I am very happy with the here and now.

    I have only been at this job for a little over a week, but already, I feel like I am home. For me, this is a very good fit.
    nurse2btracy and BlueRidgeHomeRN like this.
  12. 0
    Quote from marachne
    You know, some people have touched on this obliquely, but I would say that some of the qualities that are helpful to be able to do hospice are:
    • A lack of a need to control things
    • An ability to meet people where they are
    • An ability to live with ambiguity
    • The ability to be non-judgmental to an extreme degree
    • A real love for families and family dynamics in all their messy glory
    • The ability to be autonomous but still part of a team
    • A commitment to self-care
    Yes, it can be amazing, beautiful, moving, uplifting, and to my mind, always an honor to be with people in this most vulnerable time, that doesn't mean you don't deal with plenty of cranky, "non-compliant," (I have that term!) people that live in chaotic, dysfunctional families with lots of very different belief systems. If you can't roll w/that, you'll be miserable in hospice.
    Hello fellow Portlander! I am currently in process of becoming CNA1 and will likely go the LPN route, maybe RN down the road. I believe hospice is my true calling, I have a passion for people and all the "stuff" that comes with them. I consider it a privilege to support the patient and the family during that point in their lives.
    I am not clear whether I might work in a LTC facility, or, hospice in the home. Any thoughts to share on the topic?


    Enjoy Independence Day.

    nbch:


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