Explore Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing

Explore Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing

Hospice and palliative care nurses work in a care giving space that is often difficult and foreign for most families, friends, and other caregivers. With a compassionate approach, experience gained from helping others who are at the end of their lives, and valuable professional knowledge, hospice and palliative care nurses become a guide for patients and their loved ones.logo for Hospice & Palliative Care Nurses Association for

According to the Hospice & Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts, patients may choose to have hospice and palliative care when their life expectancy from a terminal illness is six months or less. Hospice care’s goal is different from the other medical care that a patient has been receiving for their illness. Shifting from a treatment-oriented approach to a comfort-based and dignity-focused care model, hospice aims to make the patients remaining days as comfortable as possible.

Hospice and palliative care nurses work with patients at the end of their lives, developing close bonds with the patient and the patient’s loved ones. Although hospice and palliative care nurses work with people during their very last days, it’s most helpful if they become involved as early as is possible. Even if a family is familiar with hospice and palliative care, each patient’s treatment, medical needs, and expectations are different. Nurses in this specialty help families plan for specific aspects of care and anticipate the patient’s needs. With this kind of planning, the patient’s quality of life is higher, families are more prepared for what will happen, and more time can be spent with personal interactions.

Nurses in this career path or who are interesting in working as a hospice nurse can find excellent career resources through the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association, Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation, and the Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center. Whether looking for a course to boost skills or knowledge or a community of other hospice and palliative care nurses, these associations are dedicated to elevating this nursing practice. Depending on your focus area (pediatrics or adult) and your background (RN or APRN), nurses may also find information about how to become certified. Certification brings a professional expertise to a nurse’s work and allows providers to offer the best possible nursing care. Through these associations, nurses can attain leadership positions, connect with fellow hospice and palliative care nurses, or even listen to (or create your own!) podcasts.

Although hospice and palliative care nurses work with patients who aren’t expected to live more than six months (although some do live much longer), many say the work they do is sad, but also filled with meaning. Because this is their focus, hospice and palliative care nurses are able to guide patients and families through the unfamiliar process. They learn how to navigate the emotional, physical, and spiritual landscape that comes with an intensely personal journey. With their expertise and knowledge, they are able to educate those who are caring for, visiting, or otherwise interacting with the patient. But this period in a person’s life also allows the nurse/patient bond to grow strong, even in a shortened time frame. This kind of rewarding work is one that offers nurses the ability to make the kind of change they hope for when they first begin their nursing careers.

Careers for Nurses Who Like Working in the Community

Careers for Nurses Who Like Working in the Community

Hospitals remain the top employers for nurses, but they are certainly not the only places where nurses can find a fulfilling career. Some may find that their true passion is in helping others outside the confines of an inpatient setting. And luckily, that is possible. There is a great need nowadays for compassionate and skilled nurses who can serve people in the community setting. Listed here are just a few examples of specialty areas in community health that nurses may want to consider.

Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing

Hospice nurses provide comfort-focused care to patients who have a life expectancy of six months or less. Palliative care, though sometimes used interchangeably with hospice, is slightly different in that patients do not necessarily have to be in the terminal phase of their disease process. Palliative care nurses care for seriously ill individuals who are dealing with discomfort as a result of chronic diseases or treatments used to manage these diseases. Regardless of the technical differences between them, both hospice and palliative care nurses specialize in symptom management. Rather than focusing on curing patients, hospice and palliative care nurses promoting comfort, which may involve managing chronic pain, respiratory distress, or nausea, among other things. While some hospice and palliative patients are cared for in hospitals, many also receive care in their homes.

Infusion Nursing

If you are skilled with IVs, then you might consider working as an infusion nurse. Infusion nurses start and maintain various kinds of intravenous lines. Not only do they administer medications, but they also provide monitoring for their patients to make sure that treatments are effective and are not causing any adverse effects. Those who have had a lot of experience with IVs in the hospital setting might find this type of nursing appealing. Many companies, including home health agencies and pharmacies, are hiring skilled nurses who can provide infusions to patients in the community.

Wound Care Nursing

Wound care nursing is a specialty area for nurses who have a passion for helping patients afflicted with wounds, some of whom have chronic and debilitating injuries that put them at high risk for infections. Among the people who require the services of wound care nurses include bedbound patients, diabetics, patients with chronic circulation problems, and patients who have had accidents or surgeries. If you are interested in this kind of nursing, you may also want to consider getting some type of certification in wound care nursing. Your expertise will be valued by many organizations and you may see patients in their homes as a traveling consultant for durable medical equipment companies and healthcare agencies that specialize in wound treatment.

Worker’s Compensation Nursing

Getting injured at work can affect one’s life in many ways. Depending on its severity, workplace-related injuries may affect more than just one’s physical health. Losing the ability to work can also cause mental and financial strain. As a worker’s compensation nurse, you will have the opportunity to help these individuals get their life back on track. You will have the role of a case manager who will ensure that your patients get the high-quality treatment necessary to restore them to their highest level of function.

Nurse Educators

When you think of an educator, you may picture someone who is in a classroom, lecturing and scribbling notes on a chalkboard. While nurses do teach in academic settings, there are also nurse educators who work in the community. These are nurses who may work for pharmaceutical or medical equipment companies that are selling highly technical products. The job of nurse educators, in these cases, is to assist other health care providers in understanding how these products work so that they can be safely utilized in clinical settings.

Public Health Nursing

Public health nurses wear many hats. They may go out and educate communities about preventing the spread of certain types of diseases. They may go into clinics to provide vaccinations. Other times, public health nurses may visit people in their homes to ensure that they are living under humane and sanitary conditions. In some cases, they may also function as medical case managers for underserved individuals in the community. Whatever they do, the main role of public health nurses is to safeguard and promote the health and well-being of the communities they serve.

One of the beauties of the nursing profession is the sheer diversity of available opportunities. Inpatient settings, like hospitals, are just one of the many places where nurses can share their talents and make a difference. Nurses have a lot of freedom in shaping the course of their careers and if you are looking for a change of pace, now could be your chance to do so. Who knows, you just might find your calling as a community health nurse.