What is a Hospice Nurse?

A hospice nurse is a nursing professional who provides palliative care to terminally ill patients who are nearing the end of their life. The focus of a registered nurse who specializes in hospice care is to help patients with pain management while supporting patients and their family members during a very emotional time. If you are looking for a patient-facing position where you provide end-of-life care, here is what you need to know about the hospice specialty.

What Do Hospice Nurses Do on the Daily?

Hospice specialists are more than just caretakers, they are also case managers and advocates for their patients. If you work in hospice nursing, it is your responsibility to monitor your patient’s status, manage pain medications, and take care of the basic needs of a patient after they have stopped their life-prolonging medications.

Not only do nurses care for their patients, they provide emotional support for patients and their family members who have started the process of closure. They will explain the process, coordinate with chaplains and act as a communication bridge between families and healthcare professionals. In a home healthcare setting, hospice nurses also help with household duties to alleviate the burden from the patient’s family.

Where Do Hospice Nurses Work?

A registered nurse may provide the same type of care as a hospice nurse, but specialists in this field work to alleviate symptoms instead of performing care that will extend life. Because of this, specialists that are trained to deliver palliative care only work in a few different settings. Some of the places that you can work once you are trained and certified include hospice care clinics and patient’s homes, according to Discover Nursing.

How Much Do Hospice Nurses Make?

Hospice nurses are often called angels, because they provide comfort to patients who are approaching the final stages of their life. Since it takes a special person to take on this role, nurses who specialize in hospice care settings tend to make a higher salary than triage and visiting nurses. According to Payscale, the average hospice registered nurse salary is $60,527 per year.

What Factors Affect a Salary in Hospice Nursing?

There are a number of different factors that can affect your salary. One major factor is the region where you are working. If you work in an area with an older population, the salary is bound to much higher than a salary with a young population and a minimal need for specialists. Years of experience, your level of education, and the work setting that you choose also play a big role. If you have an advanced practice degree, your salary will be comparable to a nurse practitioner, according to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow.

Is There a Good Job Outlook in Hospice Care?

There are so many different specialties in nursing that it is important that you choose one that is in high demand. If you feel like you would be a good fit for this difficult specialty, it is good to know that employment for nurses in hospice care is projected to grow by 19 percent by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that more than 526,000 jobs will be created for nursing staff in this area of nursing in just six years.

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The first step to becoming a specialist is to become a Registered Nurse. Once you have your license and experience, you can go for an advanced degree so that you are qualified to sit for the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses exam, according to the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center. Once you are certified, you can start to look for positions so that you can provide care as a hospice nurse.