Can you help me with some career advice?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I hope you don't mind me picking your brains.

    I'll give you all a very brief background. I'm thinking of going back to school to get my nursing degree as a second degree. I've pretty much decided that I want to specialize in hospice nursing. Right now I volunteer providing pastoral care to end stage AIDS and cancer patients and I love it and my best friend died 3 months ago and I also helped her as much as I could during the last 4 months of her life. These two factors really helped me decide that I wanted to do this kind of work.

    Here's my issue. At the place I'm volunteering, I asked if I could be cross-trained as a care companion and they were all very thrilled to have me there and they all said that I would learn very quickly whether I wanted to be a nurse or not, but that they thought I was going to be phenomenal at it. So I was very excited to get this hands-on training.

    Now, here comes the bad part. I had my first day as a care companion yesterday. And while I got through giving a bed bath and a shower to two patients and changing two diapers and making sure both patients were clean. I HATED it and left crying for the first time ever.

    Now I'm a little devastated because I thought for sure that I was being called to be a hospice nurse and it seems like it's not for me.

    Can any of you help me and tell me what are the different roles in a hospice setting? (I've worked as a legal secretary for 15 years, so I'm totally brand new to this field).

    Again, I absolutely hated cleaning up the patients, but I find that I do great ministering to them in getting comfortable with their deaths and talking them through their fears of dying, and helping their families.

    Does this mean nursing is out for me? Should I consider going back to school to become a counselor specialzing in end-of-life issues? Or should I just continue to volunteer as a pastoral care minister at this hospice and forget about doing this as a job?

    Thanks for any and all help.
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    Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 18


  3. by   bargainhound
    Social worker is another role for hospice career.

    Admission coordinator is antoher one.

    Volunteer coordinator is another one.

    Pastoral care can be a paid position as well. There are chaplain positions
    as well as bereavement counselor positions. Both are full time paid jobs.

    These would give you the opportunity to do the work you like and be paid.
  4. by   Iluvhospice
    Being a care companion and being a hospice case manager/nurse are far different things. That's not to say that sometimes we don't have to help with personal care activities - but, by and large, that's not the main gist of the role.

    If your heart is in the role of helping a person with the emotional aspect of dying and helping the patient and the family live out the remainder of life for a terminal patient in the most comfortable and complete way - then you are following the right path.

    Follow your dream...
  5. by   doodlemom
    I agree with Sarah. I can't remember the last time I gave someone a bath and it's been at least a couple of months since I changed someones briefs - and that was because someone was soiled when I was checking their bottom for decubs. Our nurse aides give our patients baths and personal care of patients like changing briefs is generally done by the family (in the home) and aides (in facilities.) That's not to say it is not ever done - therefore you need to know how to do it. It is good training to be able to do it in a pinch.