What exactly does hospice nursing consist of?

  1. What does it take to be a hospice nurse? I am a very new RN (3 months) working on a busy telemetry floor. I am currently working on a BSN and will graduate in April of 09. I have planned to stay on this unit in the hospital until then, but have made no plans for after.

    My friend works as a CNA for a hospice. She loves it, but she cannot really tell me about the RN side of it. It sounds like an AWESOME field!

    One of the aspects I like most about nursing is the "caring" part of it. I truely LOVE my patients and want them to be comfortable, both emotionally and physically. It's hard because sometimes i do not have the time to talk to a patient about their feelings associated with their illness while they are in the hospital.... I am so busy with my assignment.

    Hospice nursing sounds appealing to me. But I do not really know too too much about it. I would love to be able to make patients comfortable during the end of life... Be there for them and their family... and give them that one on one care without other call lights going off. it just sounds like a great, awesome, fulfilling job.

    Can you tell me about your hospice job and what your duties are?

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    Joined: Jul '07; Posts: 73; Likes: 12


  3. by   dosamigos76
    Hospice nursing IS awesome, but please don't think that you'll be able to be everything to patients, cause you can't. I do a lot of symptom management and making the most of the time I have with the patients. Some require more time and energy than others, like anything else.

    I would recommend that you contact some hospice agencies in your area and ask to talk to and maybe shadow a RN CM for a day, that would be wonderful.

    I know that people go into hospice straight after school, but I wouldn't recommend it, hospital experience is invaluable. I would honestly look at what you can afford emotionally and time. Hospice doesn't go 9-5 generally and there are a lot of hospices out there that expect you to be accessible to your patients at all times.

    I have learned through dealing with my own burnout from five months at one office, that you have to really establish your own boundaries and take care of yourself and your family..... It does no one any good if you're "fried".

    Please feel free to e-mail me or PM me if you have any questions. Hospice is a true honor and a privilege.

  4. by   shrinky
    I have been in the Hospice field for 7 years now and cannot think of anything else I would rather do with the rest of my working years. It certainly is an honor to be with patients as they go to their eternal home. Spending one on one time is great, but you will need to investigate case loads, compensation, call responsibilities, travel reimbursement, whether you will have pharmacia, lap tops, etc. Experience of at least a year is needed since we are more autonomous than nurses in the hospital whcih I see as a plus, but some nurses have a problem adjusting. You also have to have a strong sense of your own belief about death and dying and the spiritual side of life. Death is a spiritual journey more than any other sense and I find myself doing a lot of praying and singing to patients. Any other questions just ask us, we are always glad to help an upcoming nurse. Good luck.