An Appreciation of Hospice Nurses

Can we ever say enough about how much our nurses and home health aides provide to our patients and their families?

Theirs is a job that can be rewarding and fulfilling in many ways, but can also be stressful and exhausting. Involving one’s self in the lives of patients and family members is a necessary element of hospice nursing. Yet, at the same time, a hospice nurse must maintain a professional demeanor.

Hospice nurses have the authority to make important decisions regarding a patient’s treatment and welfare. But each hospice nurse is also part of a collaborative team. A significant part of a hospice nurse’s job is sharing information about each patient with other hospice team members, not only during weekly meetings but also by filling out appropriate paperwork.

In addition to taking care of patients, hospice nurses also work closely with family members. Acknowledging cultural differences, monitoring internal family dynamics and respecting family members’ struggles to accept their loved one’s death are major parts of a hospice nurse’s work. For many hospice patients, the main caregiver is a family member. It is of utmost importance that a hospice nurse be able to communicate clearly with all caregivers.

Because a hospice nurse generally works with several patients, time management is a serious concern. A routine patient visit can reveal issues that need to be addressed immediately. Schedules must be adjusted on short notice. Workdays are often extended by several hours.

At Hope Hospice, we know that it takes a special individual to be a good hospice nurse. In addition to top-notch basic nursing skills, a hospice nurse must possess good people skills. He or she must have compassion for the patient and the patient’s family and other loved ones. But the nurse must also be able to be direct and honest when necessary.

It is a tough and demanding job. Some hospice nurses suffer from burnout. Others may experience a condition known as “compassion fatigue.” But with strong support from other hospice team members, including hospice leadership, being a hospice nurse can be a personally gratifying experience.

At Hope Hospice, we value our nurses and respect the dedication they put into their work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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