Hospice and Palliative Nursing

Hospice and palliative care nursing has come about in recent decades as a specialty that focuses on providing care and quality of life for patients with progressive terminal illness. While similar, hospice nursing focuses on end-of-life care, and palliative nursing focuses on providing care for patients at any stage of illness. Both provide comprehensive care that consists not just of medical care but also counsel, guidance, and support. These nurses usually work in home or hospice settings, but can also work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and even prisons. Palliative and hospice nurses spend more time with their patients than any other healthcare team member and are involved in every aspect of their care. They supervise nursing aides, licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN). According to stoppain.org, it’s an interdisciplinary occupation that focuses on the “comprehensive management of the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients with progressive incurable illnesses and their families.”

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Training and Education Requirements for Hospice Palliative Nurses

A palliative care nurse is required to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing and passing the licensing exam. Click here to find an accredited nursing program now. According to HPNA, many hospice and palliative nurses have earned their graduate degree in hospice and palliative nursing. National Board for Certification for Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN) is responsible for official certification of this specialty. Candidates are registered nurses and must take an examination in order to become certified. Certification goes beyond earning one’s necessary education to practice, but demonstrates a commitment to this occupation and expertise in this area of nursing. Through certification, one officially becomes a certified hospice and palliative nurse (CHPN).

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) is this nursing specialization’s oldest organization. It can provide you with career guidance, support, and access to journals, newsletters, conferences, as well as opportunities for continuing education, networking, and advancement. Other organizations include the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation (HPNF), and finally, the Alliance for Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Nursing which has emerged as a unified voice of the other organizations and seeks to advance the this branch of nursing so as to benefit the public.

Hospice Palliative Nurse Salary

Nursing is one of the fastest growing professions, projected to grow at a rate of 23% from 2006 to 2016. Palliative and hospice nursing is expected to grow even more as this care is more frequently offered in patients homes. According to salary.com, the average hospice nursing salary is $49,000, and for palliative nursing it is $56,000. This can vary greatly depending on experience, employer, location, and other benefits offered. Like other nursing specialties, become a CHPN can be a great step toward a secure and rewarding field in healthcare for you. Find out which educational path can best take you to toward this specialization, and get started today.

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(Sources: hpna.org, stoppain.org, nursesource.org)