A hospice nurse is a specialist in the nursing field who is trained to work closely with terminally ill patients. While nurses who work in hospice settings are licensed as a registered nurse, they play a special role as a case manager and advocate for patients who are nearing the end of their life and their families. To play this special role, hospice nurses need special training and added experience in settings that can take an emotional toll on those who are not prepared. If you believe this specialty could be your calling and would like to pursue a fulfilling career in hospice nursing, read on and learn more about what you will do and how to get qualified.
What is the Role of Nurses in Hospice?
A hospice nurse works in a patient’s home or a hospice care clinic and provides holistic care to terminally ill patients who are nearing the end of their lives. Instead of providing care to treat an illness or complication, nurses in this specialty are focused on helping their patients live as comfortably as possible while they are preparing for the inevitable.
When caring for patients in a care center, you will manage pain, monitor vitals, and take care of all of a patient’s needs. When caring for patients in-home, nurses may take care of household duties in addition to providing care. These duties can include cooking, cleaning, or even running errands for the patient. No matter which setting they work in, all hospice nurses help families cope and provide the support that they need during a difficult time.
How Much Are Hospice Nurses Paid?
Nurses choosing a career helping patients and families cope with impending death, must have realistic salary expectations. The reported national average salary is $49,000, but according to the survey professionals with 5 or more years of experience average $85,000.The salary that you earn will be dependent on your region, the setting that you work in, your experience and your level of responsibility.
How to Become a Specialist in Hospice Nursing
To get your foot in the door, you first need to meet all of the qualifications to become a Registered Nurse in your state. Once you qualify to sit for the NCLEX exam and pass that exam, you can practice and provide acute care in your state. As an RN, you must pursue further training to get certified or to become an advanced practice nurse. It is recommended to take a Master’s program majoring in Palliative Care, but some individuals choose to take classes to earn their certification through the the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses. Before you can get certified, you will need experience working in a hospice setting.
There is no denying how difficult it can be to provide nursing care to patients who are losing their battle. While difficult, it can also be extremely rewarding. With more and more baby boomers aging, the need for hospice nurses is expected to grow. If you are an RN, get your experience and then you can earn your certification to become a hospice nurse.