Although here at Nursa, our primary purpose is to dedicate ourselves to offering quick and efficient ways for healthcare facilities and nurses to connect, we are also committed to providing quality information in the medical field to help guide travel and PRN nurses and healthcare workers. This article will discuss the hospice nursing specialty and what kind of clinicians work in hospice care.
So, what is hospice care? This care is provided to patients by a group of various healthcare professionals who dedicate themselves to maximizing comfort for the person they’re treating; they do so by reducing pain and accommodating physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. This specific type of care is for those terminally ill, typically with six months or less left to live; however, hospice care can also be provided to anyone as long as the patient’s doctor or hospice team verifies that their condition is life-limiting. Hospice care is provided in various places such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and even dedicated hospice facilities. However, no matter the destination for this care, the goals and the way this care is given do not change.
What is a Hospice Nurse?
While we’ve learned about the basics of hospice care and where it can be offered, various professions provide this maintenance category. However, the main job to touch on is the hospice nurse. These nurses are critical to hospice care, and it honestly wouldn’t function correctly without them. A hospice nurse is a registered nurse (RN) that has completed an ADN or BSN and has training in working with the terminally ill. Although this job isn’t to heal the patient, a hospice nurse still has many roles and tasks to fulfill.
The role of these nurses can be distinguished quite well from other nursing professions as their patients are not expected to have improvements in condition. Instead, these nurses care for and prepare their patients for end-of-life transition. Thus, these nurses are mainly responsible for coordinating others in the hospice care team and providing the necessary primary care for their patients. Hospice nurses will discuss and explain prognosis with their patients and families, perform patient assessments, and review their medical histories. Among many other tasks these nurses perform, they also educate patients’ families and provide them emotional support throughout the process.
What Clinicians Work in the Hospice Setting?
Although hospice nurses provide the care, a primary care doctor will always oversee maintenance. While hospice nurses are typically in charge of coordinating the rest of the hospice care team, among other tasks, many others are included in the hospice team, making the ability to offer this care possible. In addition to these two incredibly critical pieces to hospice care, there will often be home health aides, spiritual counselors, social workers, pharmacists, volunteers, and more to provide for patients and their families. Other professions will be involved, such as a myriad of different therapists, speech, physical, occupational, and more. For patients’ families, bereavement counselors are also there to offer support after a loved one passes in hospice.
Overall, hospice teams can often include volunteers and paid workers that work side-by-side, addressing various needs of patients. The way these teams are organized will vary heavily on the hospice provider and the size of each hospice care team; however, no matter the size or who is on the team, they are there to provide the best care possible.
How do Clinicians Deal with Death and Dying?
When going into healthcare as a full-time profession, it’s to be expected that death is inevitable and will be faced from time to time while on the job; however, although this is true, coping with death is never an easy task and sometimes takes some extra support to get on through it.
There are countless ways to cope with loss; some may work for you better than others. There are a handful of ways one may use to cope with the loss of a patient. However, these few essential tips are critical in everyone’s coping methods. The biggest challenge is to continue caring for yourself and your needs, even if it may be difficult. Clinicians dealing with death may also seek advice, talk with their peers, or even seek counseling. Some may also find it comforting to speak to the patient’s family who passed or even attends their funeral. If you’d like to learn more about methods of dealing with patient loss, feel free to check out this blog about coping with patient death.
Recommended Certifications for the Rehabilitation Nursing Specialty
To further your education and enhance your professional portfolio on our Nursa platform, here are a few certifications that, if you qualify, would show potential employers your dedication to the specialty.