New nurse wants to be Hospice

  1. The whole reason for nursing school( RN) was to be a hospice nurse. I want it with my whole heart.
    I know it calls for tons of driving, documentation, and lower pay than the hospital.
    Even so, I still feel called.
    I have been working several months in med surg in a hospital.
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Any advice will be taken to heart.
    Thank you so much....Nurscee
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    About nurscee

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 123; Likes: 5

    8 Comments

  3. by   angel's assistant
    Quote from nurscee
    The whole reason for nursing school( RN) was to be a hospice nurse. I want it with my whole heart.
    I know it calls for tons of driving, documentation, and lower pay than the hospital.
    Even so, I still feel called.
    I have been working several months in med surg in a hospital.
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Any advice will be taken to heart.
    Thank you so much....Nurscee
    This reply is from a nurse that never wanted to ever deal with familys or dying pts. But through circumstance I am now a Hospice nurse. The first atribute you have to be a hospice nurse is you "calling" I think if you tell that to the interviewer you probably have the job wraped up. I would try to get as much experience in med/surg as possibel, then maybe some oncology just so you would be aware of the newest meds and treatments. I came from surgery and had no idea about chemo/radiation/meds. I had to look up Roxanol(liquid morphine). As you are waiting to get your experience you could become a hospice volunteer. Our hospice volunteers are a the largest assest our not for profit agency has. I don't work for a large hospice with big bucks, so my salary SUCKS, but I LOVE the people that I work for and I might turn out to be a hospice nurse after all. Oh, we are also building a hospice residency over the next several years, maybe this type of setting would be the easiest transition from hospital to hospice.
  4. by   NurseCherlove
    Quote from nurscee
    The whole reason for nursing school( RN) was to be a hospice nurse. I want it with my whole heart.
    I know it calls for tons of driving, documentation, and lower pay than the hospital.
    Even so, I still feel called.
    I have been working several months in med surg in a hospital.
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Any advice will be taken to heart.
    Thank you so much....Nurscee
    Hi Nurscee,

    I am still a relatively new RN myself (licensed last August) and I just quit an inpatient hospice job after working there for almost 2 months. Like you, I also feel "called" for hospice; however, this particular facility was not a good place to start. I only had 5 months of med-surg experience before I started there, so depending on where you live, you can likely obtain a hospice RN position. Speaking of where you live....I have to ask, do you live in Georgia by any chance? Likely not, but I had to ask. Long story short, I just started working for a small home health agency and the owner wants me to basically orchestrate getting the home hospice end of her company off the ground....from the marketing, pt. admissions, staffing, the whole bit....and all before June! I am so excited that God has placed this opportunity in my path! So, if by some crazy off chance you do live in Georgia or know anyone who does who would be interested in providing Home Hospice Care, we need to talk! This is an opportunity to come aboard on the ground level with 2 God-fearing RNs who would treat employees like family and make sure they had the training that they needed to succeed. OK, I'll stop now. If you are interested, I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, good luck to you in hospice. It sounds like you have the heart that it takes to be an excellent hospice nurse. Just make sure you really check out the company you go to work for and make sure they live up to what they tell you they will do for you (i.e. give you adequate orientation and in-services). Thus far, that has been my biggest problem as a new nurse... not being assertive enough with my employers. Learn from my mistakes! Also, listen out for things people say around your town about prospective employers... you might be surprised at what you hear! Good luck!
  5. by   aimeee
    Quote from NurseCherlove
    Hi Nurscee,

    I am still a relatively new RN myself (licensed last August) and I just quit an inpatient hospice job after working there for almost 2 months. Like you, I also feel "called" for hospice; however, this particular facility was not a good place to start. I only had 5 months of med-surg experience before I started there, so depending on where you live, you can likely obtain a hospice RN position. Speaking of where you live....I have to ask, do you live in Georgia by any chance? Likely not, but I had to ask. Long story short, I just started working for a small home health agency and the owner wants me to basically orchestrate getting the home hospice end of her company off the ground....from the marketing, pt. admissions, staffing, the whole bit....and all before June! I am so excited that God has placed this opportunity in my path! So, if by some crazy off chance you do live in Georgia or know anyone who does who would be interested in providing Home Hospice Care, we need to talk! This is an opportunity to come aboard on the ground level with 2 God-fearing RNs who would treat employees like family and make sure they had the training that they needed to succeed.
    While an exciting idea, it also sounds like a daunting task. I hope the owner is ready to pledge the resources it will take to make a success of the project. Good luck to you.
  6. by   rosemadder
    Quote from nurscee
    The whole reason for nursing school( RN) was to be a hospice nurse. I want it with my whole heart.
    I know it calls for tons of driving, documentation, and lower pay than the hospital.
    Even so, I still feel called.
    I have been working several months in med surg in a hospital.
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Any advice will be taken to heart.
    Thank you so much....Nurscee
    I, like you, went to nursing school to become a hospice nurse. I had previously volunteered at hospice and my experiences there led me to want to become a hospice nurse. I applied at our local hospice as soon as I graduated and was told I needed at least two years of med/surg experience. Med/surg was the last place on earth I wanted to work...but with my goal in mind I accepted. The experience has been invaluable! I've learned so much in the past two years and feel ready for the challenges of being a hospice nurse.

    I also began working part time in Home Health which put me in a lot of new situations and forced me to come up with solutions to problems that occur when you have very little back up on hand. In home health, I learned to do lab draws, run chemo, got more experience with central line dressings and infusions using all kinds of different pumps along with more wound treatments (to mention a few things).

    I have now applied for a position at a 6 bed inpatient acute short term Hospice facility which will enable me to continue to keep my clinical skills up while caring for Hospice patients. Eventually, I may go out in the field to work as a Hospice Home Care nurse but this situation fits my needs perfectly at this time. Hopefully, I will get the position and so far it sounds as if it will happen!!! In the back of my mind since beginning nursing school, the mantra goes....All roads lead to Hospice! Good luck on your journey, YOU WILL BE GREAT!!!!
  7. by   PumpkinsMami
    Being a hospice nurse is definitely a calling!! It would be an asset to get some experience for a couple of yrs before going into hospice. Try volunteering to get a feel for the company. Pain management is an area that you want to pay close attention to!
    How to find a good hospice?? Ask around. Find out what families say about the hospice care they received. How experienced is their medical director? The hospice that I work for has been in business for 2 years (I've been with them from the start!). We are like a family and I feel truly blessed! One of my favorite things about the company I work for is that we start every week with Monday morning prayer. You'll know when you get there that it's for you!!

    Quote from nurscee
    The whole reason for nursing school( RN) was to be a hospice nurse. I want it with my whole heart.
    I know it calls for tons of driving, documentation, and lower pay than the hospital.
    Even so, I still feel called.
    I have been working several months in med surg in a hospital.
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Any advice will be taken to heart.
    Thank you so much....Nurscee
  8. by   beckabeckahi
    Nurscee, I will be graduating in Dec and am also interested in Hospice care after taking care of my husband's grandfather while he died. Thanks for your post, it answered some of my questions as well. Over the summer break, I am going to volunteer at a local Hospice to get a feel for it.
    Good luck.
  9. by   rosemadder
    Quote from nurscee
    .
    How long do I need to work hospital to be qualified?
    What skills to hone in on?
    How to get my first job in a hospice?
    How to find a good Hospice?
    Regarding experience need, for me 2 years (or close to it were needed)...I think that a year would probably be enough. (After 2 years, however, I am still wondering if I am ready--I just started at Hospice--but that's just my on fears).

    Skills needed would be: IV starts, Lab draws (this one you might not get in a Hospital setting but ask the Lab to teach you how if they will), Blood sugars (my hospital did these so I had to refresh but these are easy), Wounds and central line dressing changes are done frequently, Foley Caths. I'm sure there are many other things but if you are proficient in these things you will less likely need to call for back up as often. The most important skill is communication...therapeutic, empathetic listening skills!

    For finding your first job...I sent emails to every surrounding county to see availability and went from there---fortunately the hospice I wanted to work at was the one who needed someone.

    In finding a good Hospice...I would say that patient care must come first at all costs...How do they handle patients who cannot pay--do they turn anyone away, do they cut corners in trying to save money...also-what can of pain control do they use and are they open to new methods (our hospice uses methodone treatments, lots of various gels for the wrists and dilutes medicines to use in droppers by mouth, any kind of injection is avoided if at all possible and patients determine what treatments will and won't be done...their rights are respected in every area and their choices are priority. Also I think important is community support--our Hospice is ran solely on donations and we do only one fundraiser a year (our census runs around 100 patients and our budget for next year is 1.6 million--this from donations plus the one fundraiser). We allow pets, children, smoking, alcohol in our on site Hospice acute facility...all these things add up to putting patients first.

    Hope this has helped some! More seasoned Hospice nurses could tell you more about skills needed but so far this is what perspective I have gained. GOOD LUCK!!!
  10. by   katwoman7755
    Quote from angel's assistant
    This reply is from a nurse that never wanted to ever deal with familys or dying pts. But through circumstance I am now a Hospice nurse. The first atribute you have to be a hospice nurse is you "calling" I think if you tell that to the interviewer you probably have the job wraped up. I would try to get as much experience in med/surg as possibel, then maybe some oncology just so you would be aware of the newest meds and treatments. I came from surgery and had no idea about chemo/radiation/meds. I had to look up Roxanol(liquid morphine). As you are waiting to get your experience you could become a hospice volunteer. Our hospice volunteers are a the largest assest our not for profit agency has. I don't work for a large hospice with big bucks, so my salary SUCKS, but I LOVE the people that I work for and I might turn out to be a hospice nurse after all. Oh, we are also building a hospice residency over the next several years, maybe this type of setting would be the easiest transition from hospital to hospice.

    LOL....this has nothing to do with the topic...but reading your post made me laugh...it sounded so much like me.....I had no syrupy story either...accidently fell into hospice. Glad I did though...spent 2 yrs with hospice...only left b/c I moved. I learned alot and think in my small little world made a difference to those around me. But, yeah, most of the folks I worked with were more along the lines of the OP....felt "called." Guess that's the great thing about nursing...so many things you can do.

    Kathryn RN CHPN

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