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How Much Do Hospice Nurses Make?

NurseJournal Staff
Updated January 13, 2023
Whether you are already a hospice nurse or considering it, this guide outlines typical hospice nurse salaries and how to increase your pay.
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Hospice nurses play a vital role in caring for patients at the end of their lives. This guide describes typical hospice nurse salary ranges and offers tips on how to increase hospice nurse pay. Keep reading for more information to help you negotiate the salary you deserve.

Average Salary for Hospice Nurses

The average hospice nurse pay is $68,960 annually, or $32.88 hourly, according to Payscale data from June 2022. This is slightly higher than the $68,240 average salary it reports for all registered nurses.

The lowest-paid 10% of hospice nurses make $56,000 or less, and the highest-paid 10% make $83,000 or more. Hospice nurse salaries vary based on experience, certification, education, demand, and the local cost of living.

Average Annual Salary
Source:Payscale, June 2022

Average Hourly Wage
Source:Payscale, June 2022

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The Highest-Paying States for Hospice Nurses

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track hospice nurse salary data independently of other nursing specialties. Fortunately, RN salaries can still offer insight into approximate hospice nurse pay in specific areas. RN salaries are highest in the states with the highest costs of living.

The states with the highest annual pay for registered nurses are:

Highest-Paying States
StateAverage Salary
Washington, D.C.$98,540

Source:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

How Do Hospice Nurse Salaries Compare to Other RN Specialties?

RNs can specialize in different types of care or patient populations. Salaries depend on demand, qualifications, experience, and type of workplace. Overall, hospice nurse pay compares favorably with other RN specialties.

How much does a hospice nurse make? As of June 2022, Payscale reports an average hospice nurse salary of $68,960, compared to $76,330 for oncology nurses, $71,470 for flight nurses, $68,240 for all registered nurses, and $61,680 for pediatric nurses.

Nurse practitioners, by contrast, make a median of $120,680 annually. If you are interested in earning in this range, you may want to consider earning a master of science in nursing (MSN) and becoming an advanced practice nurse (APRN).

4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Hospice Nurse

There are several ways to increase hospice nurse salaries. These professionals can build on their qualifications, pursue more education, or seek out different workplaces.

  1. 1

    Consider Pursuing Certificates

    Certification demonstrates a professional’s knowledge of a specialty and their commitment to ongoing education. The Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center offers the certified hospice and palliative nurse certification. Along with passing the exam, each candidate must have at least 500 hours of experience in hospice or palliative care in the most recent 12 months or 1,000 hours in the most recent 24 months, and current and unencumbered RN license.

  2. 2

    Increase Education Level

    While you can become an RN with either a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN), many employers prefer or may even require a BSN for higher-level positions. Moving from an ADN to a BSN can increase your hospice nurse salary. Similarly, you can earn more by earning an MSN and pursuing APRN certification.

  3. 3

    Gain Experience in Administrative Roles

    You can also become a nurse administrator, charge nurse, or other nurse supervisor to increase your hospice nurse salary. Having special certification, a BSN, or an MSN typically opens more opportunities than an ADN alone.

  4. 4

    Switch Practice Setting

    Another way to get higher hospice nurse pay is to find a new workplace. Typically, nurses in government settings and hospitals make more than nurses in ambulatory healthcare services, nursing homes, and schools.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hospice Nurse Salaries

question-mark-circleHow much does a hospice nurse make annually?

According to June 2022 Payscale data, 80% of hospice nurse salaries range from $56,000-$83,000. The average hospice nurse pay is $68,960 annually or $32.88 hourly. Hospice nurse pay varies based on location, experience, education, and work responsibilities.

question-mark-circleIs being a hospice nurse hard?

Being a hospice nurse requires the ability to care for patients who are expected to pass away within six months. This can be emotionally draining, especially for nurses caring for patients experiencing severe emotional or physical distress. However, helping patients transition peacefully can also be very rewarding.

question-mark-circleWhat is the highest-paying registered nurse specialization?

The highest-paid nursing jobs are all APRN positions, but the highest-paid RN specialties include operating room nurse, dialysis nurse, and critical care.

question-mark-circleIs hospice nursing a good job?

Hospice nursing can be financially rewarding. Hospice nurses who can maintain empathy while retaining a psychologically healthy distance can find the work of helping people in the last stages of their lives fulfilling. However, it can also be emotionally draining to work with patients who are not expected to recover.

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