Rewards and Challenges of Hospice Nursing – Overview
Pursuing a nursing career requires a passion for people, a strong interest in medicine, and empathy for patients and their loved ones. Selecting hospice nursing requires all the same qualities, but it takes a particular person to choose to support others at the end of their lives.
Hospice nursing comes with specific rewards and challenges. For that reason, it can be difficult for hospices to recruit the staff they need to offer the high level of care they are dedicated to. Nursing staff from TrueCare can help fill staff gaps.
Why Hospice Nursing is Different
Mention nursing and most people will think of highly qualified medical staff who play an essential role in helping others get better. Whether they are part of the team in the operating room, the intensive care unit, or on a ward, our general perception is that nurses are nursing someone back to health.
Hospice nursing is entirely different. Hospice nurses care about and for their patients like their counterparts on hospital wards and in doctors’ surgeries. However, they know they are accompanying them during the last phase of their lives.
Delivering palliative care means dealing with people who suffer from terminal illnesses or conditions. Nurses in this field take an interdisciplinary approach to care to optimize their patients’ quality of life and minimize their suffering. There is no chance that patients will recover and leave the hospice.
Rewards and Challenges of End-of-Life Care
Compared to other fields of nursing, hospice care has different challenges and rewards. Challenges, especially, can be both physical and emotional.
Some of the most challenging aspects of the profession include:
- Death fatigue and fear
- Emotional strain from handling highly stressful situations
- Difficulties dealing with family members, religious advisers, and other loved ones
- Demanding multidisciplinary work
For most hospice nurses, the rewards outshine the challenges, though. Those rewards include:
- Building long-term relationships with patients and families
- Seeing a very different side of nursing
Navigating the Challenges of Hospice Nursing
Because hospice nursing means accompanying patients during the last phase of their lives, it is an emotionally demanding profession. As a result, it is not uncommon for hospice nurses to develop either a fear of death or death fatigue. When that happens, hospice nursing staff may need a break from their profession and consider a self-care program.
Hospice nursing can be physically challenging for several reasons. Many hospice nurses manage the practical elements of care but also deal with administrative aspects of the job. In most hospital settings, those areas would be handled separately. Plus, hospice nursing rarely follows strict shift patterns. If patients experience a crisis, hospice nursing staff stay on duty.
Moreover, hospice nurses rarely only deal with their patients. They are the critical liaison between doctors, other members of a patient’s medical team, and the family. They communicate with social workers, religious advisers, and home health workers. In many cases, that involves handling delicate relationships.
Rewards of Working as a Hospice Nurse
Many successful hospice nurses thrive on the challenging aspects of their careers. They enjoy various responsibilities and like being the contact person at the center of patient care. They want the trust put into them by patients, physicians, and families.
Career hospice nurses also mention the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with their patients as one of the most rewarding aspects of their work. Hospice nursing allows medical professionals to see a different side of nursing and develop their careers in another direction.
Hospice nurses understand the importance of compassionate support at the end of a person’s life. While, in some cases, family members remain the primary carers of a terminally ill person, that scenario is not always realistic for all circumstances. At those times, professional support becomes invaluable.
Selecting Dedicated Hospice Care Nurses
If nursing is more than a profession, then hospice nursing is a calling rather than a career. Recruiting and retaining qualified, reliable hospice nursing staff can be difficult for hospice managers and their HR teams.
Spending time assessing CVs and conducting time-consuming interviews can take a hospice management team’s attention away from other vital issues. Staffing is a priority, but most senior hospice managers deal with various other daily tasks.
This is where highly experienced partners like TrueCare can help. TrueCare has developed a nationwide network of compassionate, experienced, dedicated hospice nursing professionals to support palliative care teams. Our team is ready to become part of your facility’s team as and when needed.
The TrueCare platform can support short-term staff shortages or provide long-term support. TrueCare helps to grow existing teams, extend services, or simply increase the level of care you deliver to your residents. All of our staffing services are available on-demand and remain highly flexible. While we aim to build a long-standing working relationship with our clients, you will never find your facility tied into a rigid, long-term contract.