Jump to content

Get to shadow a hospice nurse, advice?

Hospice   (2,116 Views | 6 Replies)

skydancer7 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Operating Room, CNOR.

1 Follower; 1,995 Profile Views; 67 Posts

Hello!

I have the opportunity to shadow a hospice nurse tomorrow. I have been a nurse for 7 years. I work at a hospital in med-surg currently, and the company has two hospice house locations. I don't know a ton about it, except that after seeing the suffering people go through, I am a deep believer in palliative and hospice care, and I want to get involved. I think my heart is more in that direction than extreme measures to keep people alive just for the sake of staving off death for a little longer :(

I have "hunch" that I might be a good fit as a hospice nurse but won't know until I check it out.

What questions should I ask the nurse I am shadowing, to get the most out of this experience?

I am very excited!!

Thanks so much!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

makeitwork has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice and palliative care.

1 Article; 48 Posts; 2,638 Profile Views

I am sorry I did not see your post sooner. How did the shadowing go?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tyvin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

1,620 Posts; 18,041 Profile Views

Oops too...It all depends on the nurse and the situation. I shadowed a hospice nurse when I was in school for a whole quarter and she was great. Go with your gut. I would watch her when in the presence of a patient and ask questions later. It all depends. She would explain things as she went about her routine. Learned quite a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

skydancer7 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Operating Room, CNOR.

1 Follower; 67 Posts; 1,995 Profile Views

I ended up shadowing and lasted half a shift.  Being around the grief of the families was too much; like a punch right in the gut.  I wonder if that is something one could get used to, because I really had hoped that it would be my "calling" and I am tempted to try again someday.  I am just such an empath; it was really hard being around all the sadness, but maybe it is something you learn to deal with? Thoughts on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Katillac has 18 years experience as a RN.

341 Posts; 7,528 Profile Views

I hope others will weigh in here, because my strong and immediate response is to say if others' grief is too much to manage after half a shift, this is not the specialty for you. In ten years of hospice nursing I have never seen anyone who had that much difficulty initially overcome that particular challenge.

Yes, one learns with experience to take on as much of the feelings of others one needs to connect with them but not so much as to be overwhelmed by them. But being overwhelmed with sadness to the extent one needs to leave when one is just shadowing makes me think learning and actually working in that state would be extraordinarily difficult.

We recommend to immediate family members that after a loss it's wise to avoid making life changing decisions for up to a year. As a hospice nurse you are making those kind of decisions for others every day. Not a good fit for someone whose emotions are not under control.

YMMV, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

skydancer7 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Operating Room, CNOR.

1 Follower; 67 Posts; 1,995 Profile Views

Thank you Katillac, I agree.  I have been working on my energetic and emotional boundaries for years, but I think I am too much of an empath to have this be my specialty.  It's not for everyone, I guess, even though my heart's in the right place.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

holisticallyminded has 7 years experience and specializes in LTC, Medical, Rehab, Psych.

164 Posts; 5,360 Profile Views

On 12/25/2019 at 8:00 AM, Katillac said:

I hope others will weigh in here, because my strong and immediate response is to say if others' grief is too much to manage after half a shift, this is not the specialty for you. In ten years of hospice nursing I have never seen anyone who had that much difficulty initially overcome that particular challenge.

Yes, one learns with experience to take on as much of the feelings of others one needs to connect with them but not so much as to be overwhelmed by them. But being overwhelmed with sadness to the extent one needs to leave when one is just shadowing makes me think learning and actually working in that state would be extraordinarily difficult.

We recommend to immediate family members that after a loss it's wise to avoid making life changing decisions for up to a year. As a hospice nurse you are making those kind of decisions for others every day. Not a good fit for someone whose emotions are not under control.

YMMV, of course.

I’m weighing in. I disagree that anyone learns to be emotionally tough. This is pure personality (and actually personality has been studied extensively). I am fairly unemotional, with a very low level of neuroticism,  which is why I do well with dementia, psych and hospice. I can connect but my “empathy” is totally cerebral/intellectualized. I rarely feel any of it. Trust me- having worked in psych as well: many people are very empathic and don’t tolerate the emotional distress of others. In fact, this is often one of the reasons they end up unable to cope well in situations since the degree of empathy can be so extremely great and when combined with other traits can be miserable for the individual! My husband could never even be a nurse, he is so affected by pain, distress and suffering! Hopefully all will find their niche. Good luck to all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×

This site uses cookies. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Privacy, Cookies, and Terms of Service Policies to learn more.