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How to Become a Hospice Nurse



Nurse practitioners: filling a vital need

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness. Palliative care in Washington, DC offers comprehensive management of physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of cancer patients and their families, focused on improving quality of life.

Patients and caregivers are encouraged to speak with their oncologists regarding the benefits of palliative care. Here are a few ways to become a hospice nurse.


Your first step will be to enter a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program so that you can earn your BSN and then apply to take your state’s Registered Nurse Exam.

As you study to become an RN, you will learn in a classroom setting and a clinical setting. When you complete your clinicals and your rotations, request to be placed in the hospice setting to determine if this is really what you want to work towards. Hospice care requires patience and a spiritual philosophical view and is not the right fit for everyone.

Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)

The National Council Licensure Examination has one purpose: To determine if it’s safe for you to begin practice as an entry-level nurse. It is significantly different from any test that you took in nursing school.

While nursing school exams are knowledge-based, the NCLEX-RN tests application and analysis using the nursing knowledge you learned in school. You will be tested on how you can use critical thinking skills to make nursing judgments.

Get Experience

After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, it’s time to gain experience in the particular type of nursing care required by hospice patients. This acute care is found in intensive care units, such as geriatric and ICU nursing units. The typical time frame when one must gain experience in these high-intensity units is about one to two years.

Work in Hospice Care Facilities

Working as a hospice nurse is one of the most rewarding jobs around. With hospice nursing, you will have the chance to take care of critical patients in the last moments of their lives.

Being able to look after people who are terminally ill give you the opportunity to really make a meaningful difference in their lives, which is really what nursing is all about.

This is particularly true for the family and loved ones of the person you are caring for. They are dealing with the fact that someone they care for is dying, and it is your role to make sure they do not, on top of that, have to worry about their levels of comfort.

They want to be able to put all their energy on the passing of the person they love and want to know that they are being cared for properly during that time.

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