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Hospice and Palliative Care: Nursing Roles

“Persons intentionally choose to become nurses to help patients meet their health needs,” even when the patient is actively dying. (Wu & Volker, 2012) Hospice nursing and palliative care nursing are both considered end of life care. However, hospice nursing is typically given to patients with a terminal illness and who have less than six months to live. Palliative care is typically given to patients with a life threatening illness, and is used to increase the patient’s quality of life. Choosing a nursing career in either hospice or palliative care can be extremely difficult, but will provide an opportunity for great personal growth. At times, an end-of-life caregiver may feel responsible for their patient’s death, or they may feel isolated due to a lack of support. Nurses new to this field should “feel that their unit acknowledges death as a difficult event and that discussion of death is acceptable in the workplace.” (Lewis, 2013) The most rewarding, and also most difficult, part of being a hospice or palliative care nurse is the ability to be a part of your patient and their…

 

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