Should New Grad Start in Hospice?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I'm currently in my fourth semester of nursing school. I was thinking of working in the hospice area of patient care. Should I first get more nursing experience in a hospital setting or just focus on entering the hospice field?

    Dear Wants to Start in Hospice,

    Congrats on being close to graduating! Kind and compassionate nurses are drawn to end of life care. Many hospice organizations require 1-2 years of clinical experience. There are good reasons for this.

    You will gain fundamental nursing skills by working in the hospital. You will be exposed to terminally ill patients and begin to understand what dying looks like for the patient and the family. You will learn about pain management, multimodal pain medication, and how to position a patient to make them comfortable. You will learn to listen and be present.

    Working in the hospital prepares you to work independently in the home setting. Career wise, starting in the hospital and then specializing is recommended over starting in a narrow speciality.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth[
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,514; Likes: 4,481


  3. by   adventure_rn
    I agree with Nurse Beth. It is awesome that you are interested in going into Hospice (especially right out of school). However, hospice nurses often have to work quite independently. Unklike an inpatient setting, you will likely be the only provider present and won't have the option to ask a more experienced person (i.e. another nurse or a physician) for guidance or assistance. I'd be sure you feel strong and comfortable with both your assessments and skills before flying solo, and the fastest, most reliable way to do that would be to work on an inpatient unit for a couple of years.

    FYI, there should be a Hospice forum under the AN specialties page--they should be able to help you with more specific hospice questions; you could try posting your question on their forum and see what they say.
  4. by   anononurse
    I know several new grads whose first nursing job was in hospice. It's worth a try if that's your passion.