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Finding Passion and Compassion in a Nursing Career

Learn how a St. Louis hospice nurse career can be a rewarding experience

Never is a person more vulnerable than when they face a terminal diagnosis. They and their families need comfort and compassion to relieve the pain and stress of what has become inevitable. When such a patient is moved into hospice care, it takes a special person with a giving heart to provide needed assistance. This is what it means to start a career as a hospice nurse at the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA).

What is a hospice nurse?

Starting a career as a hospice nurse is an incredibly rewarding and challenging career choice. These care-driven professionals provide care, comfort and compassion to terminally ill patients, their families and caregivers.

A hospice nurse brings both passion and nursing expertise to the care setting, which involves advanced clinical assessment, symptom management and support for individuals who are in the end stages of life. It takes tremendous strength and courage to become a hospice nurse -- not everyone is equipped with the resiliency required for such an emotionally demanding job. However, those who are passionate about providing care to end-of-life patients will find great satisfaction in being able to make a difference in people’s lives during some of their hardest moments. Working as a hospice nurse is truly a special opportunity to be part of something incredibly meaningful.

How is this different from other nursing careers?

Other areas of nursing focus on treating illnesses to help patients recover. Within hospital systems, these nurses are surrounded by other team professionals in a busy, fast-paced environment.

As a hospice nurse, you work with a team that provides comprehensive care for the patient and their family. The team includes a variety of healthcare professionals whose combined knowledge provides comprehensive care for the patient and their family. Team members may include doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, counselors and others.

When working together closely as a team, bonds develop, which can allow for enhanced communication between team members and delivery of care that is tailored to meet the specific needs of each individual patient and their loved ones. Furthermore, in addition to compassionate care from the professional healthcare staff on-hand to help ease symptom management, support is also provided through volunteers who provide emotional companionship throughout the often-difficult journey that is hospice care.

By joining this type of collaborative network where everyone has their own distinct roles while also contributing to an overall mission of providing holistic end-of-life care that respects individuals’ right to make personal decisions about their care regimen and quality of life goals, hospice nurses experience a great deal of job satisfaction each day.

Why is being a hospice nurse so fulfilling?

VNA hospice nurses frequently talk about how their roles can be emotionally fulfilling and truly change their lives. People perceive this type of career to be depressing and taxing. It is far from this. Providing this type of specialty care makes them appreciate life and not take things for granted.

Knowing you’ve done everything possible to make a patient’s situation easier is a feeling like no other. By having knowledge and understanding of end-of-life care, as well as an eye for detail and diligence in ensuring all tasks are carried out in a proper and timely manner, these skills will help improve patient outcomes.

A hospice nurse career is focused on helping individuals to live their best life, however short that life may be. And the patients’ families are grateful for the support and individualized care.

Who should consider a career as a hospice nurse?

  • Nurses who want to make a unique difference in the lives of individuals who are most vulnerable at their end of life and the families of those individuals.

  • Nurses who are able to work independently with the ability to organize flexible hours.

  • Nurses who have had life experiences and can guide others through difficult times.

  • Nurses who have a full life and understand the benefit of home and work life balance. Typically, care is provided Monday through Friday during daytime hours.

Where can someone learn more about a rewarding career as a St. Louis hospice nurse?

If you thrive off making a real difference in people’s lives, then a career as a hospice nurse could be exactly what you are looking for. If you’re interested in learning more about a career as a hospice nurse at VNA, visit their careers page to see current opportunities:

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