What is a Hospice Nurse? A Tribute to Hospice Nursing


As a nurse, you are taught to heal, to inspire, innovate, and influence. Many nurses choose their careers in the first place because of the notion of healing and curing others. However, what if the patient is terminally ill and cannot be cured? This is where hospice nurses come into play. These special, caring nurses work to comfort, not to cure, and they are a vital part of a patient’s life. In celebration of Nurses Week, let’s pay some tribute to hospice nursing.

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A Tribute to Hospice Nursing

What is a Hospice Nurse?

Nearly every nurse has dealt with the loss of a patient at least once in his or her career; it’s just a part of the job. However, hospice nurses deal with death and dying patients on a daily basis. Patients in hospice care have terminal illnesses and have six months or less to live. Since these patients cannot be cured, a hospice nurse’s primary responsibility is to provide comfort and emotional support to patients and their families during the end of life. These nurses can work either in hospice care clinics or in a patient’s home, and they are involved in almost every aspect of a patient’s end-of-life care.

What Does a Hospice Nurse Do?

Hospice nurses have a variety of different positions and perform lots of different tasks. There are a few different roles that a hospice nurse can have.

  • Case Manager: These nurses are RNs who hold the responsibility of assessing and managing a patient’s care. Each patient is assigned only one case manager, so the two form a special bond. Case managers in hospice report directly to hospice physicians.
  • Intake/Admission Nurse: Hospice intake or admission nurses are usually the first staff member to interact with a patient and their families. Their job is to explain hospice care, assess a patient’s needs, and develop a proper plan of care. Once the patient is admitted into hospice care, the intake nurse assesses the patient and ensures that he or she receives any required medication or equipment (under the direction of the hospice physician).
  • Visit Nurse: These nurses are essentially the assistants to the case managers. They visit patients who have immediate needs when the case manager is unavailable. Visit nurses can also be responsible for routine care, such as checking vital signs or dressing wounds.
  • Triage Nurse: The hospice triage nurse is responsible for taking phone calls from patients or their caregivers when they are at home, and they begin to assess the patient over the phone. If the triage nurse sees a need for a hospice visit, they consult with the hospice physician and notify the case manager or visit nurse.

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Hospice Nurse Education and Certification Requirements

First things first, to be a hospice nurse, you’ll need to obtain your nursing diploma (either an Associate of Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing). Then, you’ll have to pass the NCLEX. In order to work as a hospice nurse, you will need at least two years of experience as an RN before you’re eligible to take the Hospice and Palliative Nurses certification exam. After passing that exam, you’ll be ready to work as a Certified Hospice and Palliative License Nurse (CHPN)!

Hospice Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

The average hospice nurse salary is around $66,000 per year. However, this will vary from state to state, and also depending on a nurse’s experience. Luckily, no matter the pay, the job outlook for hospice nurses is promising. For RNs in hospice care, the number of job openings is predicted to increase by 19 percent by the year 2022. Over all, the healthcare industry in general is projected to have the fastest employment growth between now and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A Tribute to Hospice Nursing

What is a hospice nurse? Well, a hospice nurse is a vital part of a patient’s end-of-life care, and they’re some of the most compassionate, courageous, and understanding individuals out there. They ensure that patients are comfortable and at-ease during the ends of their lives, and this is no easy task. We can’t thank them enough for the work that they do! Does hospice nursing sound right for you? Browse TravelNurseSource.com today and check out hospice nursing positions across the country!

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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