What Are the Pros and Cons of Hospice Nursing?

by NurseJournal Staff
• 2 min read
If you are considering becoming a hospice nurse, then it is even more important that you take all the different aspects into consideration. Being a hospice nurse takes a special kind of person. It is more than just a job, it is a true passion and some would even say that it is a calling. However, this doesn’t mean that the job doesn’t have challenges, even for those who feel that they are made to do it. So what are some of the pros and cons of hospice nursing? Perhaps the following will be able to help you determine whether the job is right for you or not.

The Cons of Hospice Nursing

The most important disadvantage of hospice nursing is in the nature of the type of care itself. You will be helping people who are dying, giving them end-of-life care. This means that you will have to deal with death on a very regular basis. Because you spend so much time caring for the patients before they die, you will have a sense of attachment to them. As a result, the loss can be felt very strongly and this is certainly difficult to cope with. Your role is to make someone as comfortable as possible, and to counsel and guide their loved ones until the patient passes away.

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The second disadvantage is the setting where you will deliver the service itself. There are a number of hospitals that have dedicated units for hospices, but it is far more likely that you will care for patients in their own homes. These circumstances can make your job unstable and unpredictable, mainly because you will not have immediate access to all the medical facilities you may feel you require. One final location where you may be able to work is in a hospice center. Although there are some excellent centers around the country, most of them have very high workloads and are finding it hard to cope with demand while still delivering excellent service. As a result, many hospice nurses feel as if they are not empowered to do their job properly, which can be frustrating. Then, there is the fact that it can be very difficult to really keep up with all the new trends, needs and demands in the field of medicine itself. Because medical care changes continuously, thanks to further scientific and technological advancement, you have to go on courses and training in order to keep up. This can be particularly challenging in hospice care, because it is hard to find the time to do this on top of a heavy workload. Finally, the reality is that it is very challenging to deal with death and terminal illness on a daily basis. Even if you are somehow able to not build an attachment to the patients you are caring for, it is impossible not to be affected by the death that is all around you. This is why it really is a field that you must be right for, one that you feel you have been chosen for.

The Pros of Hospice Nursing

Although the list of cons may seem quite long, the benefits, for many, can outweigh the various disadvantages. Being able to look after people who are terminally ill gives you the opportunity to really make a meaningful difference to their lives, which is really what nursing is all about. This is particularly true for the family and loved ones of the person you are caring for. They are dealing with the fact that someone they care for is dying, and it is your role to make sure they do not, on top of that, have to worry about their levels of comfort. They want to be able to put all their energy on the passing of the person they love, and want to know that they are being cared for properly during that time. Furthermore, as a hospice nurse, your job will be incredibly varied. You will work as part of a team of experts in order to make sure every patient’s needs are met fully. You will work together in ensuring the patient and their family are comfortable and that they have all the information they need as well. Your role is as much about education as what it is about caring, providing people with a greater understanding about what is happening to them or someone they love. You will be a true advocate for each and every patient that comes under your care. There are many more pros and cons of hospice nursing, but these are often seen as the biggest ones. Choosing to work in this field is a big decision and one that you should weigh up carefully. Although it is an incredibly rewarding job, it really does take a special kind of person to deal with these challenges and you must question whether you are that special kind of person or not. The rewards you can receive if you do decide to work in this field are tremendous, however.

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