Palliative care nursing (not hospice)

Specialties Hospice


Nearly everything on this board is hospice nursing related. I am interested in hospice nursing, but also palliative care nursing. Could some palliative care nurses share details on your jobs, whether or not you like it etc? Just trying to gather information here.


Specializes in LTC, Hospice, Case Management.

Unfortunately, and sadly, I think we as a society just do a poor job with palliative care/nursing. At least in my area I don't think I've ever seen a job posted for a palliative nurse but lots for hospice nurses. It's pretty much aggressive curative approach until it's time to die.

Specializes in kids.

Following as my mom is declining physically and someone recommended palliative care vs all the meds, doc appts etc.

I am a palliative care nurse in home health. It is a very rewarding job. Depending on where your market is, it can be a hard sell, as many people do not understand it. Palliative care is more about symptom management than curative measures. It can sometimes be a pathway to hospice, but not always. We also serve many people with COPD and CHF whom have frequent readmissions to the hospital.

My organization has both a palliative (under traditional home health) and a hospice program. Most of our palliative patients are still seeking treatment (chemo, trials etc) so do not qualify for Hospice yet...but many transition there once treatment options are exhausted. There is a great deal of symptom management to be done in many cases....that is our area of expertise and you can really change their quality of life which is rewarding. Emotionally it can be difficult to go through a year or better of chemo etc with your patient and then help them transition to Hospice and finally give them comfort and dignity at the end. You may not see a lot of home health palliative agencies because it is almost impossible to make money. Patients come in sick and usually get sicker...kind of kills the star ratings and the prospective payment system is not really set up for palliative patients. Agencies with a large census can probably do ok as they have a large number of traditional patients to dilute the ratings etc of the palliative people. Many hospitals now are developing their own palliative teams which I hear can be very rewarding to work for.

I got lucky enough to get hired as a palliative care RN in an ambulatory outpatient setting. I like it because we are treating patients who are still hoping for a cure from cancer. Sometimes, they "graduate" and sometimes we gently guide them towards hospice. I do a lot of telephone triage and clinic just 1 day per week. I do miss hands on patient care as most of my days are spent on the phone with either patients, pharmacies or insurance companies. I love the autonomy of the job and really having the time to spend just listening to a patient. Palliative care in the inpatient/outpatient setting is not widely accepted just yet. However, when a patient is referred over to us, we often see an increase in quality of life and less hospitalizations.

+ Add a Comment