What It’s Like to Be a Hospice Nurse

NursingOctober 01, 2021

As you complete your program of study at Denver College of Nursing, your clinical rotations will give you a chance to have in-person experience in some of areas of specialization. When you are on your geriatric rotation, one area you may learn more about is hospice care. If you have the chance to ask a hospice nurse about their job, they’ll likely tell you that it’s more of a calling. Being a caregiver for someone at the end of their life is a sacred and somber role, and it takes a special type of person to provide that care. While many people might find the role challenging, the process of caring for and making a patient as comfortable as possible in their final days can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re considering becoming a hospice nurse, it helps to understand the job and what it entails. 

Hospice focuses on the palliative care of a terminally ill patient. A hospice nurse will monitor symptoms, treat pain, and provide emotional support to the patient and their family. As a result, many hospice nurses become attached to patients and their loved ones. 

Home Care

Some hospitals have dedicated hospice units, but often a hospice nurse provides care in the patient’s home. This means you will be traveling to area patients on a daily basis to assess their condition. In some cases, the patient’s family provides personal care, such as bathing, treating wounds, and administering medications. However, hospice nurses often help with this type of care as well, especially if the family is unable to perform the tasks themselves. 

Connection With Patients And Families

Hospice nurses often say that taking care of a terminal patient is rewarding because they know they’re making a meaningful difference in their patients’ lives, easing pain and providing personal and emotional support to the patient and their family. 

A hospice nurse provides an invaluable service to patients’ families. By keeping the patient comfortable, the family doesn’t have to see their loved one struggle. The nurse can also be there to answer questions and educate the family, so that they understand what to expect. Many families have described hospice nurses as angels.

Administrative Tasks

And, just like nurses in hospitals or clinics, hospice nurses have their share of administrative work. They will need to make reports, update records, relay information to physicians, and place orders for medications. 

An Important Decision

While it can be a rewarding profession, choosing to become a hospice nurse is a decision that should be made after careful consideration. Being able to deal with death on a regular basis is a big part of the job, but for the right person it can be an honor to care for someone at that final stage of their life. 

Whether you choose hospice care or another specialty, many find nursing to be a rewarding career and Denver College of Nursing can help put you on the path. Click here for more information or call us today at (800) 600-6604 and speak to one of our career counselors.