Too young for Hospice?

Specialties Hospice


  • by MelRN13
    Specializes in critical care, med/surg.

I have a question that I'm hoping some experienced hospice nurses can help me with.

My drive to become a nurse began when my mom was dying from colon cancer when I was a teenager. The hospice nurses that provided her care were the most wonderful and caring people I have ever met in my life.

Before I graduated from school, I talked with the director of an area hospice at a nursing career fair. Although she was intrigued with my passion for healthcare, she flat out told me "Dear, you are too young to be a hospice nurse, the families may not 'connect' with you."

Now, seeing that I have been through the emotional rollercoaster they are on with their loved one, how could I not 'connect' with them?

I'm asking this for a few reasons. I love my job in CCU, but I don't feel passionate about it. I know that this may sound odd, but I don't feel as if it is my "calling", or my purpose on this earth. Yes, I am only 26 years old, but I have had many life experiences that make me feel somedays as if I'm 80.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.:kiss

aimeee, BSN, RN

932 Posts

I think that far more important than age in actual years is maturity; ability to listen, ability to empathize, ability to perceive the client's needs, ability to make good decisions. And when I say ability to listen, I mean to hear not only what is said, but what is NOT said. Time, life and work experiences give us the opportunity to develop those attributes. Not everyone is equally suited, however, and some will have greater maturity, greater communication skill, better decision making skills at 26 than others will develop in an entire lifetime.


322 Posts

Specializes in critical care, med/surg.

Thanks aimee, those were my thoughts exactly.


42 Posts

Hey, I have great news for you. I'm 28 years old and have been a hospice nurse for over 3 years . I recently became certified in Hospice and Palliative care. I love my job! Go for it. It is the most rewarding job in the world (for me anyway). I get so much from my patients, sometimes I feel like they help me far more than I help them. If you need any advice or information, feel free to email me. I work with some incredible people. Hospice is not the kind of place that people (nurses) get thrown into or stuck in. All of the nurses know what they are getting into and do it for that reason exactly. I've worked in so many areas of nursing (I floated in a 250 bed facility for 3 years) where people are so miserable. Follow your heart. It may be a calling from a higher power. Let me know if I can help.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

I can speak from experience as a hospice volunteer for many years and having used hospice for loved ones, age was never a factor in my notions about the caregivers.



6 Posts

I'm 30 and have been doing hospice for 2yrs........We have a social worker who's 25 and a few younger nurses.......It's all about the person and if u have young children there might be a problem d/t being oncall.......I would say Go For It age is just a number..............


46 Posts

Hi TeleNurse_02,

My mom died when I was 8 and I have always wanted to take care of people. I have let others talk me out of nursing and hospice for way too long. After my dad was in a hospice home three years ago, I decided that is my calling. I think I'm comfortable with death because I started dealing with it at such an early age. I'm starting to get some pre-reqs out of the way so I can start the nursing program either in the fall of 2004 or the spring of 2005. One of the nursing students at my dad's hospice house was at least 10 years my junior and she was so good. I felt very comfortable with her. What mattered most for me was her compassion. She just sat with me and let me cry and stay in the room with my dad after he passed for such a long time. It was never about was all about my dad and us. I never once thought, "Gosh, she's so young! She can't possibly be mature enough to understand what I'm going through!!" I've known adults that are not compassionate enough to work with hospice. I think those of us who have dealt with death and understand it is part of life just feel more comfortable. At least that is how I feel. And yes, I am looking only at hospice nursing right now. Perhaps after I get into it other areas might appeal to me, but I am very drawn towards providing comfort. I have worked with my step-mom, my dad and recently my grandfather and they all had hospice and I loved providing them with comfort. No one should have to die alone or in pain. Just my thoughts! Also, I see you're from Michigan, too!


225 Posts

I meet lots of hospice staff at my CNA agnecy job. They are all ages+backgrounds. I think hospice is something you have to have a gift for and you either haveit or you dont. Alot of the part time RNs doing hospice visits are younger nurses with children and need the flex hours.


Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts

Too young for hospice? That's rediculous. I was a hospice (inpt, acutes) for 4 years. I've read quite a few of your posts. You seem to have all the maturity, intelligence, compassion and insight needed to be a hospice nurse. Go for it and best of luck to you.


1,173 Posts

Too young? Malarkey!


12 Posts

Don't let anyone keep you from what you feel called to do. I sometimes do hospice as an agency nurse and I love it. I work full time in the ER and would pick up extra shifts with an agency in chattanooga. I feel honored to be a part of such an important part of my patients life. I lost my best friend in hospice 6 years ago and that is why I think I went into nursing.

I find that Hospice gives me a chance to give back. When I help a family member be able to say goodbye and feel true closure I really feel I have made a difference. You know most of my patients had come to terms with their dying, they needed me to help their family with it. It allows the patient to pass knowning that they will be ok.

I think you would make a great hospice nurse and I encourage you to follow your calling.



77 Posts

That age thing is BULL... and discriminatory.

My Mom runs a hospice and she hires new grads of all ages if they are suited to the job.

Keep looking & you will find a hospice that will appreciate you!


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