Hospice nurses work with terminally ill or dying patients to help ensure their comfort and quality of their remaining days, rather than working to cure or fix a patient. Hospice nurses typically work in one of two places, in hospice facilities, where patients come to live their final days in comfort, or in a person's home who is terminally ill or whose life expectancy is less than a year. Hospice care is designed to help patients who no longer respond or want medical treatment to live out their final days in comfort, and prepare themselves and their families for their death.
Hospice nurses are typically registered nurses (RNs) and work as part of a team to provide care, monitor health conditions, administer medication, use medical equipment, advise patients and their families on current prognosis.
Hospice nurses are caring and kind, but the nature of the work takes a special person, who understands that their patients will eventually die, and their job is to help them celebrate what life they have left.
Hospice nurses must have one of the following: a bachelor's of science in nursing, an associate's degree in nursing, or have graduated from an accredited and approved nursing program.
In addition, licensure is required, and may be obtained from graduating an approved nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Depending on the state, there may be other requirements. Additional specialization and certification in hospice nursing may be required.
With aging baby boomers and more medical advancements, all registered nursing jobs, which includes hospice nursing, will grow steadily through 2020, according to the BLS. Jobs are expected to grow 26% in that time period, must faster than the average.