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What does a Hospice Nurse do?

Learn all about Hospice Nurse duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Hospice Nurse.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A hospice nurse is a registered nurse who provides care for terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies. They may also work with hospice organizations that provide services to patients in their own homes. Hospice nurses typically have at least two years of experience working in a medical setting.

Hospice Nurse job duties include:

  • Providing skilled nursing care and emotional support to patients with terminal illnesses and their families
  • Conducting patient assessments and developing individualized care plans
  • Administering medications and treatments prescribed by the physician
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs and symptoms, and reporting changes to the physician
  • Providing wound care and other personal hygiene assistance
  • Educating patients and families about end-of-life issues and resources available to them
  • Assisting with Advance Directives planning (e.g., living wills, Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare)
  • Coordinating with other members of the interdisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care
  • Facilitating grief counseling for patients' loved ones
  • Documenting patient care services in accordance with agency policies

Hospice Nurse Job Requirements

A Hospice Nurse must have, at minimum, a two-year degree in nursing and a valid state nursing license. Many Hospice Nurses have a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Certification as a Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) through the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses is also required. Two years of experience working in hospice or palliative care is preferred.

Hospice Nurse Skills

  • Palliative care
  • End-of-life care
  • Pain management
  • Symptom management
  • Bereavement counseling
  • Patient advocacy
  • Interdisciplinary team collaboration
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to deal with death and dying

Related: Top Hospice Nurse Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Hospice Nurse

A hospice nurse is a registered nurse who provides care for terminally ill patients and their families. Hospice nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies. They typically have at least two years of experience in hospice or palliative care.

To become a hospice nurse, you will need to complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you have your RN license, you can apply for hospice nurse positions. Many hospice nurses also pursue certification in Hospice and Palliative Nursing (CHPN) through the National Board for Certification of Hospice Nurses (NBCHPN).

If you are interested in providing compassionate care to terminally ill patients and their families, then a career as a hospice nurse may be for you.

Related: Hospice Nurse Resume Example

Related: Hospice Nurse Interview Questions (With Example Answers)