Hospice Nurse Job Description

A hospice nurse is a person who helps patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Hospice nurses are essentially in charge of making a patient’s last days as pleasant as possible. This may seem like an incredibly depressing career, but it can actually be rewarding. Within it, you could have the chance to ensure that someone ended his or her life in a positive light. If you think you have what it takes to work like that in the future, the hospice nurse job description below should help you see what may be in store for you. Here is a look at the career of a hospice nurse.

The Work of a Hospice Nurse
The job duties that you take on as a hospice nurse will vary from patient to patient. Some of the most common ones may include:

Job Duties

  • Care for terminally ill patients
  • Change bed pans
  • Administer medications
  • Draft medical reports
  • Comfort grieving family members
  • Respond to emergency situations

Those job duties will also be influenced by your position though, so you need to consider where you want to be in this profession. Some positions are based more on management than patient care, so you need to think of where you belong. Here is a list of hospice nursing jobs to keep in mind:

Common Positions

  • Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Clinical Nurse Manager
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Nurse Case Manager
  • Registered Nurse

Places of Employment for Hospice Nurses

As long as there is a hospice sector within a facility, you should be able to find work as a hospice nurse. Most professionals work in hospitals, but there are those that work elsewhere. Possible employers may include:


  • Healthcare Service Providers
  • Home Health Care Facilities
  • Hospice Care Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Homes
  • Nursing Homes
  • Government Offices

You will have to see what the job opportunities look like in your area.

Educational Requirements for Hospice Nurses

In order to become a hospice nurse, you have to get a college degree. This will provide you with the training and knowledge you need to work in this profession. There are many degree programs to choose from, so you just have to find the one that best fits your goals in the future. Possibilities include:


  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science as a Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Associate of Applied Science as a Registered Nurse
  • Associate of Arts in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing as a Registered Nurse
  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Diploma in Nursing
  • Graduate Diploma in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Social Work
  • Technical Certificate in Nursing

Once you get your degree, you can take a certification exam to solidify your skills. This is somewhat optional, but it will improve your chances of getting a job in the future. Here are some of the many certification programs you may go through as a hospice nurse:


  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Basic Life Support
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Critical Care
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Oncology Certified Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Pay Rates for Hospice Nurses

No hospice nurse job description would be complete without a look into the pay you can make in this profession. There are several factors that can influence your salary, so you need to think about the big picture before approximating your earnings. The charts below show some statistics of pay rates for hospice nurses. You can use them as a guide to understand more about this career.

Salary by Years of Experience

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $37,937 per year
  • 1-4 years of experience: $45,083 per year
  • 5-9 years of experience: $50,076 per year
  • 10-19 years of experience: $54,186 per year
  • 20 years of experience or more: $57,269 per year

Salary by Company Size

  • 1-9 staff members: $35,562 per year
  • 10-49 staff members: $47,749 per year
  • 50-199 staff members: $50,889 per year
  • 200-599 staff members: $53,470 per year
  • 600-1999 staff members: $57,869 per year
  • 2000-4999 staff members: $58,176 per year
  • 5000-19999 staff members: $63,724 per year
  • 20000-49999 staff members: $57,704 per year
  • 50000+ staff members: $60,000 per year