Should I Be a Hospice Nurse?

One of the intrinsic joys of nursing is the knowledge that you are making people feel better; that, by working in conjunction with doctors and technicians, you can soothe and even cure their illnesses and conditions.

The situations of hospice nurses, however, may be slightly different. As a hospice nurse, you will be dealing with patients at the end of their lives. You may not be able to cure their ailments or extend their existences; or, for that matter, offer much hope for the future.

It is for that reason that many people avoid hospice nursing as a career. The fact remains, however, that—perhaps more than anyone else—hospice patients need the loving care of a compassionate, competent nurse; someone who soothes their pains and fears with equal skill.

As a hospice nurse, you will be the all-important person who holds the patient's hand and listens to his/her concerns. You will bring infinite comfort to an individual who is sick, frightened, and likely to be advanced in age. Perhaps more than anyone else, this patient is in need of a comforter and caretaker. As a hospice nurse, that someone could be you.

Furthermore, in most homes served by hospice care, the patient is not the only one in need of care. His/her family members, particularly his/her spouses and children, will be in need of nurturance and reassurance; by delivering this needed care in the form of hugs and listening ears, you could very well become a part of the family.

Of course, nurses do far more than listen, nurture and care. As trained medical professionals, hospice nurses administer pain medication and oxygen treatments; both of which contribute significantly to a patient's overall comfort level. Nurses also serve specially prepared foods and refreshments to the patient and sometimes indulge them by reading to them, talking with them, or sharing fun, time-passing activities with them and their families. These could include watching movies and television programs, feasting on ice cream and cake (indeed, many hospice patients enjoy relaxed diets), or even joining the family for dinner out, a movie, a ballgame, or other enjoyable activity.

It's true, hospice nurses must stand behind patients and their families during the darkest, most trying times of their lives. Yet they are also likely to share sweet, precious memories with them; treasured remembrances that will last a lifetime.

Sure, the career of hospice nursing carries other benefits as well. Hospice nurses tend to earn reasonably high salaries (as much as $50,000 a year); though in this field, the exact amount that you earn will depend on whether you work for a profit or nonprofit enterprise. And of course, the type of education that you need to become a hospice nurse—which consists of a bachelor's degree plus a registered nurse certification—can serve you well throughout your life. If you so choose, you can use this training to attain higher paying jobs later in life.

You may find, however, that nothing is more satisfying or rewarding than a career in hospice nursing. You can make a difference not only in the lives of your patients, but in your life as well. Check out a career in hospice nursing today!

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