When considering hospice palliative care, many professionals immediately think of caring for patients who are close to death and typically suffering from cancer. Graduates of campus and online nursing schools may also imagine a hospice patient as someone who has lost all hope after being told his or her illness is terminal. But according to practicing hospice palliative care nurses, these images are mere myths and fail to encompass the entire function of hospice palliative care nursing.
What is Hospice Palliative Care?
Graduates of campus and online nursing schools who choose to specialize in hospice palliative care focus on making patients comfortable and as free of pain as possible. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms rather than to cure a terminal disease. In addition to providing pain medications, a hospice palliative care nurse with a campus or online nursing degree may administer a blood transfusion to lesson the patient’s suffering from dyspnea (difficulty breathing) or may even give antibiotics when pneumonia is causing uncomfortable fever and chills.
Contrary to common perceptions, hospice palliative care is for a wider range of individuals than simply terminally ill cancer patients. Alberta RN, an official publication of a group of registered nurses, maintains that hospice palliative care is for any patient at risk of, diagnosed with, or experiencing a life-threatening illness no matter what their prognosis or age. A patient may also voluntarily exit hospice palliative care and return to aggressive medical care at any point in time.
Qualities Necessary for Success as a Hospice Palliative Care Nurse
Hospice palliative care nurses may assist their patients through the stages of grief and encourage a new focus for hope that is based on feeling good on a day-to-day basis and becoming comfortable with the idea of death. According to the Department of Labor, nurses need to be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail-oriented. Registered nurses also need to be emotionally stable in order to deal with job stresses, such as crises, emergencies, and human suffering. Internship and on-the-job training while completing an online program RN to BSN curriculum is necessary to gain the practical work experience required to practice as a hospice palliative care nurse.
Required Education to Practice as a Hospice Palliative Care Nurse
Registered nurses may legally practice in the U.S. with a hospital diploma, associate degree, or an RN to BSN degree (bachelor of science in nursing) . However, employers more often prefer to hire nurses who have attended a campus or online nursing program that leads to a bachelor of science in nursing. Particularly for specialized nursing fields, such as hospice palliative care, attending campus or online nursing schools for an RN to BSN degree teaches communication, leadership, and critical thinking skills that are necessary in today’s health care environment.
Many schools are now offering RN to BSN online programs that have been designed specifically for working registered nurses. Online nursing schools, such as the University of Phoenix, provide academic training in the following areas:
- Physical Sciences
- Life Sciences
- Social Sciences
Other online nursing schools, such as South University, possess degree online RN programs that allow students to specialize in specific areas of nursing, including online nursing degree programs.
Those interested in learning more about online nursing degree options are encouraged to visit College-Pages.com, the education and career resource website.