Hospice nursing is the kind of career you might not consider until you experience it. Whether that means having hospice in your home as a loved one’s life comes to an end, working in hospice in a hospital environment, or becoming involved with through another channel, it’s a unique position with unique challenges and opportunities.

Today, we have the pleasure of learning a little about hospice nursing from Irina Roth, RN, who works as a case manager for Silverado Orange County Hospice. (Irina was part of the team who cared for my grandmother during her final months, and after working alongside her tending to grandma’s needs, I seriously considered following her into hospice nursing.) I asked Irina to share a little about her personal experience with it, and this is what she had to say:

Irina, what can you tell us about hospice nursing?

Hospice nurses (RNs and LVNs) work with terminally ill patients to provide their comfort and quality of life. We typically work in facilities or in a patient’s home. Hospice care is designed to help anyone with a life expectancy of six months or less who no longer wishes to seek medical treatment. Hospice also provides support to their families.

At Silverado, I work as part of a team to provide care, monitor health conditions, administer medication, use medical equipment, and advise patients and their families on current prognosis. Because we help families at such a sensitive time in their lives, hospice nurses must be caring, kind, and understanding. Our goal is not only to provide comfort to patients, but also to help them celebrate life during their remaining time.

I think most people couldn’t even imagine how many individuals work as part of our hospice team at Silverado to make somebody’s life better. Nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, aids, doctors, office managers, and many others with different education, background, skills, and experience literally work together 24/7 all in an effort to provide quality of life to those we serve.

 How did you choose this field?

I worked as an Emergency Room (ER) nurse, and I liked it. Then I got an opportunity to work as a hospice nurse, and I liked it even more. I developed a passion for my work. It gives me satisfaction to help people at the most difficult time for them. Time of death is hard for everyone – patients, family, friends, caregivers, and also for the hospice team. I feel very fortunate to be with people who need my help, my skills, and my support.

What education and certification(s) were required for you to go into it?

I earned my Registered Nurse (RN) license, and every day I continue to learn, grow, and develop my skills in nursing, management, and in creating relationships with people.

Where did you go to school?

I received my nursing degree from Kislovodsk Medical College in Russia. I also attended the nursing program at Saddleback College.

What are your favorite things about your work?

I really enjoy the interactions with patients as well with their families. It’s my hope those interactions help make their life a little more bearable during such a challenging time.

What advice would you give others considering this field?

Be patient, be flexible, and be understanding.

We’re so grateful to Irina for sharing her story in our Careers in Nursing series of profiles of nurses following different career paths. Do you know someone whose career in nursing belongs in this series? Let us know in the comments!

Leona Laurie

Leona Laurie is a writer and digital marketing expert whose personal experience with long-term caregiving nearly led to an extreme career change.

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