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Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses are specially trained to work with terminally ill patients, helping them to live as comfortably and independently as possible in the time they have left. Hospice nurses perform typical nursing duties, such as taking medical histories, assessing and recording the progress of various illnesses and educating patients on their condition. However, a hospice nurse’s primary responsibility is providing pain management to patients. While a typical nurse is focused on a patient’s recovery, a hospice nurse is focused on minimizing pain when recovery is impossible. They also provide emotional support to the families of the terminally ill. Hospice nursing is often closely associated with home healthcare nursing.

Those planning to enter hospice nursing careers must complete an accredited nursing program and earn an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the preferred qualification if you want to move up in the profession. You can earn a nursing degree at traditional universities, online universities, vocational schools and community colleges. You must then obtain licensure as a registered nurse (RN) in the state in which you plan to work. Certification in CPR or Basic Life Support (BLS) is required for many positions. Becoming a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) may be preferred.

The median salary for an RN certified as a CHPN is $28.06 per hour, according to online compensation site Payscale.com. However, CHPN-certified hospice nurses who work as case managers earn $29.47 per hour on average. Demand for nurses in hospice care is expected to increase over the next 10 years. This is because hospice nurses often work in home healthcare services, an industry projected to grow 33 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nurses working with hospice patients often find their work rewarding because they are able to provide compassionate care to terminally ill patients and help them finish the remainder of their days with dignity.