Published Apr 21, 2014
I am a med surg nurse who was just offered a PRN evening/weekend hospice job. I have not worked hospice before so I just was wondering what to expect. I think I understand that each client is assigned to an RN case manager, so will I be responding to clients who are calling in with needs after the standard work day? I know each agency differs, but in general, just curious. Excited but anxious about trying a new field.
Your job is triage, put out fires. Resist the temptation to "fix" everything and focus on the immediate needs of the patient. Good communication with your team is a must and you should be given the resources you need as far as medical records and supplies. My experience as an on-call hospice RN is that it will be feast or famine. You will either be running, or doing nothing. Be sure you sleep when you can, as you never know when the phone will ring. Are they going to have you doing admissions? If so, make sure you get the training you need to do it right. Also, be sure that you can effectively prioritize "on the fly". You will need to decide based on need and based on location, which calls get answered first. Document, document, document! Our agency uses a time sheet for visits and an on-call log to keep track of all phone calls, etc.
What is most important? Communicate with patients and families in a timely manner. If the answering service calls you requesting you call a family, do it immediately. Don't make people wait longer than necessary. Be aware of others who can help you and use them (on-call social workers, administrator on call, doctors, etc)
Good luck! I hope you find you have a passion for hospice. Maybe you'll end up being one us full time!
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