Hospice Nurses are specifically educated to provide nursing care for dying patients. They assist those with terminal illnesses to live as comfortably and independently as they can in the time they have left. Hospice patients are not expected to recuperate, so the chief focus of the Hospice Nurse is often pain management. A Hospice Nurse closely monitors the patient to identify which stage of the disease the patient has entered, adjusting the pain management and treatment schedule accordingly. A major part of a Hospice Nurse’s job is educating patients and their families about the dying process and providing emotional support to them. Some Hospice Nurses work in home health care; others work in hospice medical facilities.
How do I become a Hospice Nurse?
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The first step toward becoming a Hospice Nurse is to complete an approved nursing education program. The most general way of doing this is to earn a degree in nursing. Most people earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university. After finishing a nursing program, all future nurses go on to take an exam called the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) so they can become licensed to practice nursing in their state. Many hospice nurses gain experience as a staff nurse in a hospital or clinic and later in home health care before seeking training as a hospice nurse. After gaining knowledge treating hospice patients, a nurse can progress to become credentialed as a board certified hospice nurse through the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses.