Inside Hospice Nurse Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"The Insurance Providers Run Healthcare...
The job is extremely stressful. I was surprised at how poorly healthcare is run. Insurance providers determine everything. You cannot provide the appropriate care because of insurance. You cannot say certain things due to insurance policies. I was surprised at the massive amount of paperwork that you end up having to do as well." (RN; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Nursing at Sonoma State University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"I was surprised that my diet and health affects my work so much. I need to be healthy and active to work this actively." (Hospice; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Nursing at University Of Texas in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"The Nurse Is Not An Island...
I was surprised how much team work was involved with other non-medical departments like: pastoral care and social work." (Hospice Nurse; 2013)

Career: 23 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Nursing at Highline Community College in Washington; completed Associate degree in 1990

"Inspiring People...
How much I learn on a day-to-day basis. The inspiring people that I meet who are sick and at the last moments of their lives" (Nursing; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Nursing at Michigan State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Hospice Nurse: "First of all I love being a nurse. There are so many areas to specialize in: pediatrics, orthopedics, cardiac, hospice, etc. I always gravitated to hospice. It's real bedside nursing. I meet the most amazing people at the worst time in their lives. People always ask me how I do what I do. Mostly I answer that for me it's a passion, an honor and a privilege to help my patients and their families turn a crisis into something that's bearable. The loss is tremendous but death, with the right kind of care, can come with dignity and without pain. I personally get back tenfold what I give. I love going to work. I work with the most amazing team. They are all very passionate about what they do. When a patient passes away I get to keep a little something of them in my heart or to use in my life. We also miss the families. Someone once described our relationship with families as us being "very personal strangers". It's true. Lastly, there are times when I need to take a break. My team looks out for its members and we schedule breaks to avoid caregiver burnout." (2010)

Hospice And Palliative Care Nurse: "The best part of my job is meeting new people, enjoying the people I work with and always feeling that I have accomplished something for the day. I can admit patients to our services and talk with doctors about adjusting their medications and services and order equipment like wheelchairs and hospital beds to make their lives easier. I like to be task-oriented so I can feel I have accomplished something and I can see results. The worst part of my job is the computer work. All of what we do goes into a computer program and doing the data entry can become very tedious ." (2010)

Career Background

Hospice Nurse

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
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Career Video

Career Tips

"Start Out Working In A Nursing Home...
When you first get out of school, you think you are going to get a job in a hospital and you think you are going to be able to help patients. That does not happen right away. A lot of hospitals or clinics require years of experience. I would advise people to get a job at a nursing home or another form of entry level work. You can gain a lot of experience and new skills that you did not learn from school. I also have met some of the best people this way." (RN; 2014)

"Before Specialize Generalize...
Before going into a specialty spend time on a med-surg floor, it will hone your skills." (Hospice Nurse; 2013)

"It's OK Not To Know...
Don't ever pretend to know what you don't. Be a sponge---watch and listen to what is going on around you. Take mental notes. Find mentors and emulate their good habits. Take note of the bad habits and avoid those.. Don't be so ego driven, and be ready to learn." (Hospice; 2013)

"Never Too Late...
I strongly encourage anyone who thinks healthcare might be their passion to go for it. The possibilities are endless. The experiences are endless. If you don't like one area of nursing, choose another till you find your passion. I started nursing school at age forty. It was a second career for me. I always wanted to be a nurse. I'm glad I didn't ignore that desire. Never too late, huh? Jump in and explore all that nursing has to offer." (Hospice Nurse; 2010)

"Work In A Hospital First...
I suggest that you work in a hospital setting for at least 2 years to improve your practical knowledge and skills then branch out into a field that appeals to you. What is so wonderful about nursing is that there are so many fields to choose from. Don't forget that a nursing career can go anywhere, to any state or country. You can even be a nurse on a cruise ship. You will always find a job and the pay is very good. It is also a well-respected profession." (Hospice And Palliative Care Nurse; 2010)