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5 things you wish you knew before starting a hospice career

Hospice   (2,506 Views | 1 Replies)
by SavvyRN2018 SavvyRN2018 (New) New

299 Profile Views; 2 Posts

I am 5 year Hospice nurse, looking for 5 things you wish you would've known or someone told you before or as you are about to start a career in nursing.

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4 Posts; 634 Profile Views

1.  Expect most of your pts to have some degree of constipation, many to a severe degree.  Be very knowledgeable on what medications to recommend to the doc.  Expect to administer lots of enemas and occasional digital stool removal assist (with Dr. order of course).

2.  In hospice you wont have a respiratory therapist to be on top of everything respiratory.  You will need to be your own expert on everything respiratory so study up on those o2 delivery systems (nc, High flow, low flow, oximizer, venti mask, nonrebreather, cpap, bipap etc) and respiratory drugs.

3.  Have a thorough knowledge on the dying process and expect to educate on this.......a lot.  People will always want to know WHEN is he/she going to die.  Don't beat yourself up if/when you get it wrong.  Patients have a way of making us look silly sometimes, even in death.

4.  Educate yourself on the election of hospice benefits and have a good understanding of what all pts should be able to expect from their hospice provider. This will help you advocate for your pt.  Expect to reinforce education to pts and caregivers on this topic frequently.

5.  Expect to find a tremendous amount of appreciation from pts and caregivers in this nursing environment centered around the final phase of life.  Beware that being around so much death and dying can take a huge toll on your emotional wellbeing.  Find healthy ways to cope.  

My background is LTC, homecare, and medsurg.  I have been in hospice nearly 2 years and truly love it!  I knew almost nothing about hospice prior to leaving medsurg to try something different (hospice)  I have learned a lot along the way.  I hope this helps a fellow nurse 🙂

Edited by happyRN29

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