How to Become a Hospice Nurse

If you want to work with people who only have a short time to live, you may enjoy being a hospice nurse. This obviously isn’t the career path for everyone, but who’s to say it couldn’t be the perfect fit for you? Perhaps all you need to do is look over the steps it takes to become a hospice nurse. If you think you can make it through them, you could be on your way to a great career. Here is a brief guide showing how to become a hospice nurse.

Step 1 – Determine If Hospice Nursing Is Right for You

Before you can go through the process of actually becoming a hospice nurse, you need to make sure that you are aware of the work involved with the job. Every position in this profession is a little bit different, but they all work together to ensure that patients are well taken care of. Here is a look at some of the job duties you may have as a hospice nurse:

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

If you feel capable of doing all that and more, read on to see how you could get involved with this career.

Step 2 – Get an Education in Hospice Care

You need an education to work as a hospice nurse. A college degree will give you a basic set of skills that you can pull from in your job. There are several of these to choose from, and the ones at the graduate level will give you a chance to work as a nurse practitioner or lead nurse in a hospice facility. Here is a quick list of the degrees you may pursue while becoming a hospice nurse:

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

Step 3 – Get Certified as a Hospice Nurse

Once you have a college education, you will need to get a certification to solidify it. Your degree will do this in part, but a certification verifies a specific set of skills you have. You will need it to land a really well-paying job. Possible certification programs to consider include:

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

Step 4 – Find a Job as a Hospice Nurse

If you have an education and proof of your abilities, all you need to do is use those qualities to get a job. There are many options to choose from, so you really just need to think about where you want to be as a nurse in the future. Possibilities may include:

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

Hospice nurses are always in demand, mainly because most of them quit early on in their career. If you can stick with the program for a long time though, you should be able to make good money within it. Here is a list of potential pay rates based on your location:

  • Illinois: $50,684 per year
  • New York: $49,628 per year
  • California: $51,800 per year
  • Pennsylvania: $47,711 per year
  • Florida: $50,312 per year
  • Georgia: $46,890 per year
  • Texas: $49,478 per year

Now that you know how to become a hospice nurse, you can go through the steps to actually do so. This may be challenging at first, but you just have to keep the rewards of the career in mind. You could truly make a difference in someone else’s life by working in this profession. That is reason enough to complete your degree program.