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How can I support my hospice nurse spouse?


I'm wondering if any hospice nurses out there can give me some tips on supporting my husband who is just starting as a hospice nurse?

Specifically, what can I do to support what he is doing for others? I've read a lot of the posts that talk about how emotionally draining it can be, is there anything I can do to refill the tank so to speak?

Thanks in advance for your help.

ErinS, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice.

Understand that he may come home stressed and cranky, and that it was probably a tough day. Encourage him to exercise. Plan vacations and do not let him bring his phone. Understand the possibility that he will be driven to get your estate planning done. I am 25 and my husband has my POA, living will, funeral plans, and detailed instructions on how to make decisions for me (beyond don't keep me alive as a vegetable). That is the best advice I have, as a hospice nurses.


Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

Let him talk about his day to you. The emotions that go along with what we do are hard to turn off sometimes, and it isn't like most work situations where you can vent to your co-workers, because most of the time we are alone with the patient and family when we are working, meaning that we sometimes come home and let it all spill out...the frustrations, the joys, the pain, the stress...he will need to talk, and you can be his best audience. My husband is getting better in this regard, but sometimes I still see his eyes kind of glaze over, and I can tell that something that caused deep emotions within me doesn't register with him, because he wasn't there and doesn't know where I'm coming from. Still...he listens and it helps me a lot. I try to ask him about his job a lot too to balance things out. :)

he needs to set boundaries with his pts/families.

it is too easy to get emotionally involved, giving out your phone #, going above and beyond what is expected of you.

it's also the quickest way to burn out.

it'll take experience, but he needs to build that invisible wall, so all this suffering/distress, won't eat him alive.

best of everything to you both.


Thank you all so much for your replies. I will definitely encourage him to be there for his patients...but also to set realistic boundaries. And I will definitely be there for him.

God bless you all for the work that you do.