Copyright

Hospice Nurse: Job Description & Career Requirements

Hospice nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who provide care for critically ill patients. They work with patients, their families and other healthcare professionals during the final stages of life. An undergraduate degree and national licensing is necessary to become a nurse, while additional training and certification is recommended for this career field.

View 5 Popular Schools »

Job Description for a Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses work to maintain the comfort and quality of life for those who are diagnosed with terminal diseases. They work in private homes, residential care facilities, nursing centers and other hospice care environments. They may also supervise licensed vocational nurses (also known as licensed practical nurses) and nursing aides in hospital settings.

They must be capable of compassionate communication with patients and their families. Hospice nurses need to have keen observation skills, high ethical standards and knowledge of when to alert doctors and others about changes in patient conditions. They must be resilient and sympathetic, and they should have emotional and physical stability to deal with the challenges of severe illness and death.

Job Requirements

Educational Background

Obtaining a career as a hospice nurse requires becoming a registered nurse. RN prospects must complete an undergraduate education and gain relevant work experience. Options include earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). A combination of classroom education and training in a clinical environment is required. Common class topics include:

  • Health assessment
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing skills and fundamentals

Licensing Requirements

In order to become a RN, individuals must pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This is required by all territories and states in the U.S. Passing this exam proves nurses have the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct treatment in the real world. Additional requirements vary by state and employer.

Further Training and Certification

Hospice nurses often have a master's degree in hospice and palliative nursing, according to the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (www.hpna.org). This is common for all advanced practice nurses. Training for hospice nurses includes taking classes in medical and biological ethics, acute care, geriatrics and psychology.

Employers or state laws may require additional certification in order to provide hospice care. The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (www.nbchpn.org) offers nationally recognized certification across a variety of levels for hospice nurses. Hospice experience and a current RN license are required in order to take these certification exams. Renewal is necessary every four years.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, (www.bls.gov), predicts that jobs will increase by 19% for registered nurses between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for registered nurses was $65,470 as of May, 2012.

Show me popular schools

Related to Hospice Nurse: Job Description & Career Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Hospice Nurse Training, Degree and Certification Options

Learn about certificate and degree programs as well as certification options for the hospice nurse. Continue reading for...

Hospice Residential Nurse (RN): Job Description and Requirements

Hospice care nurses manage pain and ensure quality end-of-life care for patients and their families. Hospice care can be...

Nursing School: Top School for Becoming a Nurse - Sacramento, CA

California State University - Sacramento is home to more than 28,000 students annually. Its nationally-ranked College of Health...

Nurse Practitioner: Continuing Education Overview

Nurse practitioners (NPs) keep current in their fields and meet state licensure requirements by completing continuing education...

Graduate Nursing Scholarships: How to Find Them

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Clinical Nursing
        • Critical Care Nursing
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Neonatal Nursing
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Nurse Midwife
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Occupational Health Nursing
        • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Clinical Nursing
        • Critical Care Nursing
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Neonatal Nursing
        • Nurse Midwife
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Nursing Science
        • Pediatric Nursing
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Iowa include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Nursing Science
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Connecticut (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Connecticut include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Nursing Science
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at James Madison University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Registered Nurse
      • Nutrition Services

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics