By: Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN Published:
A job as a hospice nurse isn’t for everyone. Let’s look at the hospice nurse salary, job requirements, and help you decided if this job is for you.
What Does a Hospice Nurse Do?
Hospice nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who provide care for terminally ill patients. They work with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals during the final stages of life. Hospice nurses work in a variety of environments including private homes, residential care facilities, nursing centers and other hospice care environments.
What Character Traits are Needed for Hospice Nursing?
Due to the nature of the job some specific character traits are necessary to be a successful hospice nurse. Hospice nurses need to have keen observation skills and high ethical standards. They must be resilient and sympathetic. They need to have the emotional and physical stability to deal with the challenges of severe illness and death.
Compassion and excellent communication skills are important because a huge part of this job is to educate families in how to care for a loved one. Pain management, skin care, signs and symptoms of death, medications and side effects are all topics that will require communication with family members. Hospice nurses are providing the framework and the support for families to take care of their loved ones.
Another consideration is this job will not provide a set 9 to 5 schedule. A certain amount of on call time will be required. This can be a challenging yet rewarding career choice for the right type of person.
Education & Experience Required
A combination of education and experience is necessary to become a hospice nurse. Obtaining a career as a hospice nurse requires becoming a registered nurse. RN licensing requires an undergraduate degree and training in a clinical environment. Options include earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition, all territories and states in the U.S require an individual to pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Additional requirements vary by state and employer.
Employers or state laws may require additional certification in order to provide hospice care. The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses offers nationally recognized certification across a variety of levels for hospice nurses. Hospice experience and a current RN license are required in order to take these certification exams.
Hospice Nurse Salary
The future projections for this job are excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs will increase by 16% for registered nurses between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for registered nurses was $67,490 in May, 2015. The combination of strong future growth and excellent salary will provide excellent opportunity in this career field.
As you can see, being a hospice nurse can pay very well. You can earn more than $50,000 annual salary as a hospice nurse – sometimes much more! That pay does come at a cost. It’s a difficult job and sometimes doesn’t have a set schedule.
Do you want to be a hospice nurse? I hope this article helped you decided. If you found it helpful, please share it with your friends and pin it to your nursing Pinterest board.