It takes a special calling to become a nurse. The demands of the job are definitely not for everyone. Currently, there are more than 700,000 LPN’s working in the medical field across the United States, and their work is incredibly important to their patients and the medical teams they work with. But, among them, only a small percentage find their calling as Hospice nurses.
Working in this field brings its own set of unique challenges and circumstances that make Hospice care not for the faint of heart, but, the rewards of caring for patients in their final days -and the families who love them- can make working as a Hospice nurse a very fulfilling career.
Laws can vary from state to state on whether Practical Nurses can work in Hospice Care, but, in Ohio, as well as other states, there are numerous Hospice career opportunities available.
What Responsibilities Do Hospice Practical Nurses Have?
LPN’s that work in Hospice have numerous responsibilities. They often provide follow-up care once a Registered Nurse case manager has seen a patient. They may give medications to patients throughout the day, or they may be responsible for wound care as needed. LPN’s often assist with patient home visits, providing care and aid to patients in the comfort of their homes.
Because of the nature of Hospice care, there is one responsibility that Practical Nurses cannot do. LPN’s cannot assess for death. This is a responsibility that a doctor must bear.
Important Tips For a Rewarding Career as a Hospice Nurse
There are some differences in the roles of Registered Nurses and Practical Nurses in Hospice Care, but there are many important tips that anyone working in Hospice must consider in order to experience the greatest rewards from this career environment and to help minimize the likelihood of burnout.
- Set personal boundaries- Unlike most other areas of medical care, the reality of facing patient death is an inevitable part of the job. This can take an emotional toll on the caregivers working most closely with them. If you want to avoid occupational burnout as a Hospice Nurse, it’s important to set personal boundaries as you compassionately care for patients and their loved ones.
- Successfully working around death and dying takes time and practice- Learning how to effectively talk to patients and their loved ones during a time of vulnerability, uncertainty, and grief is a learned process. Be patient with yourself, listen more than you talk, and realize that although each loss brings sadness, the process of helping patients and their loved ones through this stage will get easier with time.
- Palliative care isn’t all medical in nature- Your job as a Hospice Nurse is to help dying patients feel as comfortable as possible in their final days. While restorative and rehabilitative health practices often involve numerous medical therapies, procedures, and techniques to help those receiving medical care, in Hospice, other more practical measures can be extremely effective in providing the comfort and care that patients need most. Such tasks might mean turning on a fan in a room or opening up a window to let in fresh air if possible. It might mean adjusting the lights to a more optimum level, or altering the noise level in the room. Does quiet, soothing music help a patient feel at ease? These are things that experienced Hospice Nurses have learned over time that inexperienced nurses tend to overlook early on.
- Be sure to take care of yourself- Working in Hospice Care can be challenging, and often takes an emotional toll on the nurses who work in the field. It’s important to find effective ways to cope with the emotional stress that comes with the job. Make an effort to find outlets in your personal life that bring you joy and purpose outside of your career. This will help you reduce the risk of burnout over time.
If you are interested in a career as a Hospice Nurse, the first place to start is by getting quality training from a school that cares about your greatest success. Contact Athena Career Academy immediately to learn more about our LPN program and start your journey toward becoming a Hospice Nurse today.