How to Become a Hospice Nurse

Hospice Nurses provide the same type of care that general Registered Nurses do with one major difference; they solely work with patients who are terminally ill.

Hospice Nurses have to work with patients that know their life is coming to an end and must not only use their medical expertise to treat them, but their interpersonal skills to help families cope as well.

The way a candidate can become a Hospice Nurse requires them to first acquire certification as a Registered Nurse.

After achieving certification, candidates may seek a job as a Hospice Nurse.

A Hospice Nurse must be able to provide emotional support to a patient and their family.

Someone who wants to become a Hospice Nurse must be able to handle end of life situations and remain composed in order to provide high quality care to patients.

Hospice Nurses work in a variety of environments including private homes, hospice centers, nursing homes or residential care homes.

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People interested in this type of profession should look at other careers in the medical industry that require similar training and skills.

Some possible alternatives include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Dental Assistant
  • Physician Assistant
  • Palliative Care Nurse

Education Requirements to Become a Hospice Nurse

In order to become a Hospice Nurse, candidates must first seek training and licensure as a Registered Nurse.

In order for candidates to qualify for licensure, they must complete and pass a nursing program.

Nursing programs can be offered at many levels including Certification, Associate’s or a Bachelor’s Degree.

The majority of registered nurses complete an Associate’s or Bachelor’s program due to the fact that employers seek candidates with more education.

Candidates seeking a four year degree must complete a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN).

Candidates who complete a four year program are more likely to secure an entry level position right out of school.

Candidates with a BSN have fulfilled experience requirements in clinical or non clinical settings.

Employers also seek candidates with a BSN because of the increased complexity in caring for patients.

BSN degree holders also have experience with general courses such as communication, leadership and critical thinking which are considered important skills to have amongst applicants.

Students in a Nursing program receive training in a typical classroom setting as well as clinical experience in several areas.

During a program, students will learn about the human body by taking classes such as anatomy, psychology, chemistry, microbiology, physiology, nutrition and some courses in the liberal arts for candidates in a BSN or Associate’s program.

After completion of an accredited nursing program, candidates must prepare to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Passing this exam assures that candidates are capable of fulfilling a nurse’s job description.

Passing this certification exam is a requirement enforced by all 50 states.

More information can be found at: NCLEX-RN

Hospice Nurse Job Description

Hospice Nurses provide health care services to terminally ill patients.

Their goal is to provide the best care possible that doesn’t diminish a patient’s quality of life.

They offer care that is geared towards alleviating any pain or makes the patient as comfortable as possible towards the end of their life.

Hospice Nurses care for patients who are in the last six months of their lives.

They can care for them in private homes, hospitals or hospice centers.

They treat, educate families how to use specialized equipment, and can provide advice and support to grieving families.

Hospice Nurses also monitor a patient’s vital signs, administer medication, perform diagnostic tests and operate machinery such as breathing apparatuses and IVs.

Hospice Nurse Salary and Career Path

Registered Nurses compose the majority of job openings in the health industry.

The job outlook for all Registered Nurses seems excellent through the year 2018 although can vary between specializations.

Hospice Nurses will probably benefit from an aging population that is expected to grow in the coming years.

The national median wage for all Registered Nurses is approximately $62,450.

An entry level Registered Nurse can expect to earn less than $43,000 while the highest earners can earn a potential $92,000 per year.

Candidates looking for employment at a general medical hospital can expect to earn more than someone working at a nursing care facility.

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