Hospice nursing is a specialty of nursing that helps the terminally ill patients of advanced age or debilitated by illness. You can be a hospice nurse practitioner or an in-home support worker and call your career path whatever you want, but the reality is that most people just call it nursing. Hospice nurses help the dying, assist in their care, and generally provide emotional support for family members and friends who are struggling with the death of a loved one. In other words, you’re a Nursing Home Nurse Practitioner. But where do you stand among all the other nurses out there? How will your nursing degree affect your career? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this highly specialized career path.
What is the difference between hospice nursing and nursing home nursing?
Hospice nursing is the practice of providing care for people whose lives have become increasingly difficult as the result of an illness or disease process. The aim is to decrease the duration of their ultimate diagnosis and/or treatment and, ultimately, decrease the intensity of their suffering. These patients have advanced age, poor health, and a limited capacity to manage their own healthcare. The specialty of nursing that includes hospice nursing is known as in-home support worker. This is distinct from nursing home nursing, which cares for people with permanent, limited health conditions.
Hospice nursing vs. Nursing Home Nursing
The main difference between hospice nursing and nursing home nursing is the clientele. Hospice nursing is focused on the dying process and is often provided in an hospice setting. Nursing home nursing is focused on the here and now and is often provided in a nursing home setting. Other than that, the two groups of nurses are quite similar. Both groups of patients receive medical care and both groups of nurses take care of patients with a variety of health conditions and illnesses.
Hiring and layoff processes for Hospice Nurses
The hiring processes for hospice nurses are almost exactly the same as those for nursing assistants. You will probably be interviewed by the admissions department of a hospital or nursing home. You will probably be required to take the Oklahoma nursing assistant examination in order to work in a hospital setting. You will also likely be required to pass the National Board for Certification in Health Care Facility Management’s (NBCFM) certification exam in order to take home health care responsibilities. You will generally start out as an aide or support staff member in a hospice or home health setting. The work is demanding and involves taking care of patients from all walks of life — from the elderly to the terminally ill. The hours can be very taxing on the body and mind and, as with any job, you’re likely to get burnout syndrome quickly.
Job market for Hospice Nurses
As a hospice or home health nurse practitioner you are in great demand. As you’re in the business of helping people find comfort in their own homes, you’re competing with other health care providers for limited job opportunities. You can expect to work full time, 40 or more hours a week, if needed, in order to provide adequate care for your patients. You can also expect to make a good salary and enjoy benefits that include healthcare, vacation time, and a retirement plan.
How to Become a Hospice Nurse
If you think you have what it takes to become a hospice or home health nurse practitioner, the first step is to get your nursing degree. You can choose from severalBSD nursing degrees, including the bachelors, associate, and master’s degrees. Once you have a bachelor’s degree, it’s time to get your clinical training. You can either become a certified Advanced Practice Nurse, or APN, or a certified Nurse Practitioner, or NP. As you move through the various levels of certification, you’ll gain additional skill sets specific to your chosen specialty. When you’ve achieved the level of certification that you desire, you can apply for certification in advanced practice nursing (ACNM), advanced practice nursing (APD), or advanced practice nursing certification (APN).
The Future of Hospice Nursing
As we begin to imagine the future of hospice nursing, it’s important to remember that these are very specialties in their own rights. The specialty itself encompasses a large number of very specialties, which are then further subcategorized. The same can be said for the future of nursing home nursing. The point is these subspecialties are very highly specialized and it’s likely you’ll end up breaking out of them one day. Keep in mind that, in all likelihood, you’ll begin your career as a nurse practitioner and work your way up through the administrative ranks until you reach a point where you can choose to become a manager or superintendent. In the end, you may realize your lifelong dream of being an in-house support worker, providing emotional support to clients at home.