What Are the Different Types of Hospice Nurse Jobs?

Laura M. Sands

Among the various type of hospice nurse jobs are those that work specifically with children, those that require nurses to work in a person’s home and those in which nurses work in an actual hospice facility. Some opportunities require lengthy hours and may even include overnight stays at a patient’s home. Hospice nurse jobs are mostly extended to registered nurses and may also include positions for hospice nursing supervisors.

Hospice nurses may work in a person's home.
Hospice nurses may work in a person's home.

Regardless of the specific type of hospice nurse job, all hospice nurses work with patients who are suffering from a terminal illness. As a unique type of health care, hospice care is also referred to as palliative care or end of life care. Hospice nurse jobs employ registered nurses who have been specially trained in offering medical care and personal assistance to patients who will eventually die from incurable diseases.

Hospice nurses are often tasked with administering pain medication to their patients.
Hospice nurses are often tasked with administering pain medication to their patients.

Depending on the hospice nurse job, a nurse may work in a hospice facility while assuring that patients are as comfortable as possible during their final days of life. In some instances, however, a hospice nurse may also work in home care while providing nursing services to a single patient. For either of these settings, hospice nurse jobs may require a nurse to spend several hours at a time with a patient or may even require a nurse to remain with a patient and the patient’s family overnight. During this time, a nurse performs multiple duties including feeding a patient, administering pain medications, talking with a patient, cleaning the living space around the patient and even helping to comfort a patient’s grieving family. In particular, a hospice nurse helps families prepare for and understand the death process during the final hours of a person’s life.

Hospice nurses are expected to provide comfort along with medical aide for a patient.
Hospice nurses are expected to provide comfort along with medical aide for a patient.

Some hospice nurse jobs provide care for ailing children. As with adult hospice patients, the children cared for by hospice nurses are suffering from terminal illnesses, such as cancer, genetic disorders and other incurable diseases that will eventually end the child’s life. It is not unusual for one or more hospice nurses to care for a sick child for the entire duration of that child’s life.

The precise requirements for hospice nurse jobs may vary. In most jurisdictions, however, a hospice nurse must be a licensed registered nurse and have successfully completed training specifically for hospice care. Some areas require nurses to undergo an additional certification process before being able to apply for hospice nurse jobs. While a bachelor’s degree in nursing is not necessarily a requirement to become a registered nurse, some palliative care positions prefer hiring nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The exact requirements for hospice nurse jobs may vary.
The exact requirements for hospice nurse jobs may vary.

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