Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse


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BASIC DESCRIPTION

Hospice/palliative care nurses work with people who have a terminal illness and are predicted to die within 6 months. Hospice/palliative care can take place in a hospice facility, but approximately 90% receive care at home or other residential care institutions. Nurses who work with dying patients and their loved ones must be able to manage dealing with death on a daily basis; the stress of the work requires maturity.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Registered nurse preparation is required. Usually 1 to 2 years of experience in home care and oncology is recommended before entering this specialty. Certification in various roles is available in this specialty (CHPN) through the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED

■ Attention to the psychological, spiritual, physical, and social aspects of care as related to the patient’s quality of life
■ Skill in using resources found within the home or other residential site to provide end-of-life nursing care
■ Ability to provide stress relief for dying patients and their families
■ Skill in relieving multiple physical symptoms such as pain, dyspnea, fatigue, anorexia, and delirium
■ Skill in helping patients deal with emotional symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and fear associated with facing impending death
■ Collaboration with other members of the interdisciplinary team to help relieve patient suffering

RELATED WEB SITES AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

■ Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (www.hpna.org)
■ Hospice Association of America (www.hospice-america.org)
■ World Home Care and Hospice Organization (www.whho.org)
■ End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (www.aacn.nche.edu/elnec)
■ National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (www.nbchpn.org)

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