Hospice Nurse

Hospice Nurse

TranquilityRN

Tuscumbia, AL

Female, 40

I have been a hospice Registered Nurse for about ten years. Hospice is similar to home health except specializing in care of the terminally ill, dying patient. A hospice nurse provides palliative care for the patient during their last months, weeks, days, or hours so they may pass in the comfort of their home and with their loved ones present. I provide comfort and dignity for the the patient and comfort for the caregiver. Following the peaceful passing of the patient I provide postmortem.

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Last Answer on March 26, 2014

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What training and certifications are required to become a hospice nurse? How do the qualifications differ from those of a regular nurse?

Asked by Jenna almost 9 years ago

Any RN can be a hospice nurse actually. It's just that it really is a calling. I have gotten other friends involved and they didnt last because of the constant dealing with death and dying. LPNs are limited in the field but can do it as long as an RN sees the patient and meets the Medicare guidelines. Even a new graduate RN can do hospice but it truly is a calling. Palliative care certifications are a plus and can be gotten through your company.

What are your thoughts on euthanasia? Do you think it should be legal?

Asked by quinn delong almost 9 years ago

My thoughts are that euthanasia is not a natural way to pass and could be considered murder, however, I do sympathize with a terminally ill person that is in constant agony and is tired of fighting a battle. I am a hospice nurse and with easing of symptoms we allow the patient to have a natural death in its own due time. We do not hasten nor prolong the dying process. But again, I do not have an opinion on whether or not it should be legal because I also believe people are in charge of their own personal bodies and I have not suffered a long battle with cancer etc.

What's the youngest patient you've had in hospice?

Asked by PT almost 9 years ago

Me personally, 15 year old leukemia patient. He planned his funeral and was very accepting of his illness.

What do you do when a patient gets really agitated or panicked? If you're alone with them when that happens, do you get scared?

Asked by blast almost 9 years ago

I personally don't get scared and I haven't had colleagues that do. It really is a calling and also we are specially trained to assess and implement care related to death and dying. Agitation and anxiety are only a few, I would comfort the patient in a calm quiet manner and if not resolved assess if meds were necessary and give those at that time. Usually utilizing Xanax, Ativan, or haldol as needed. These meds are normally on board ahead of time because we would anticipate this type behavior and order it before symptom arises usually.

Are hospices nurses paid more, less, or about the same as regular hospital nurses?

Asked by Kapitano almost 9 years ago

Well nurses that have been in hospice for years make more due to many companies paying based on experience. In Alabama I am unsure what our pay is compared to other states, but I made $48,000 annual I think per year. That's salary with some in call also. Another job I made $42,000 as a newer hospice RN and that was on call only 7 on and 7 off. I worked PRN in the office for extra money if they needed me and they just broke my annual down into an hourly rate!

What do you think of hospice as an institution, compared to how they treat old age in some Latin American countries where the elderly move back in with their children in their final years and are surrounded by family?

Asked by Flaherty almost 9 years ago

In my experience in hospice most of my patients were at home surrounded by loved ones in their last days. There are elderly people in nursing homes that I have cared for also. We do not have in patient hospices here in northwest Alabama, which is somewhat unfortunate for those with no family because I have also had these patients at home and noone with them around the clock, in an inpatient hospice they would have around clock presence of others. Other ethnic backgrounds where elderly live with children is wonderful and those that live here still utilize hospice and it is a better overall experience when family is supportive and present.

What were the most interesting, humorous, and/or profound last words you ever heard a patient utter?

Asked by K.D. almost 9 years ago

Honestly I have had lots of conversations during the final days but I did have one gentleman was even experiencing the Cheyenne stokes breathing an discoloring of extremities and he was barely able to utter and said, "honey can you please help me" and smiled and I explained I couldn't do anything like that and he Laughed. I had one stubborn little lady patient that was closest to death than I had seen most patients just holding on.....this was third time and just as I said " well you all know how miss M loves to make a monkey out of me?" The patient replies, after being non responsive all day, she said " lil lady you can't predict when I'm gonna die" and winked at me haha she was a funny lady!