Masters in Nursing Hospice Nurse
The concept of hospice care is relatively recent, having evolved over the last twenty five years as an end-of-life alternative that serves both patient and family well. Currently there are just a handful of nursing schools that offer a Masters in Nursing Hospice Nurse degree, but there are several advanced practice nursing specializations that fit well with the palliative care provided in a hospice setting. Some nurses opt for a specialization in gerontology, as the end of life care for elderly patients has, for many patients, become an extended process. There is also a master's in nursing specialization in palliative care which fits into the hospice service model because palliative care is, by definition, designed to make the patient more comfortable rather than provide any medical improvement.
Some hospice nurses have specialized in oncology and found a career track that led to hospice treatment for cancer patients. In this field pain management can be an important medical service; terminal cancer can be an extremely painful condition. Beyond that issue hospice care for cancer patients does not differ markedly from care for other terminal conditions, with the possible exception of managing edema or fluid in the chest. Some hospice nurses have also chosen a Masters in Nursing in Pediatrics and found careers working with terminally ill children, often in home care settings. There are several MSN specialization options that can lead to a position as hospice nurse.
Hospice nurses are often moving from location to location, as hospice services are provided in home care settings, in long term care facilities, in assisted living institutions and in some cases, in hospitals. Often hospitals will move patients off medical wards and into a hospice facility when it has become clear that there is no further medical intervention which will yield results. But with the shift in healthcare caused by the aging of the population, hospice care has become a common last step in the treatment of an elderly patient wherever he or she may be located. The hospice nurse often is walking into an emotionally charged atmosphere; a substantial part of the hospice professional's job is working with family members who are about to lose one of their own.