Hospice Nurse Job Description

Hospice Nurse Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a hospice nurse. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a hospice nurse.


Who is a Hospice Nurse?

A hospice nurse is a palliative care nurse who is in charge of giving terminally ill patients end-of-life care. Nearly every nurse has dealt with death and seen a dying patient at least once in their profession. It is a component of the career, and you should prepare for it before entering the sector. But being a hospice and palliative care nurse requires a very tough and sympathetic individual. A hospice nurse provides care for patients who have chosen hospice care as their last option and have been given a prognosis of six months or fewer to live. A hospice nurse emphasizes comfort and quality of life as part of the hospice philosophy of care. Based on the particular requirements of each client, they provide tailored treatment.

A hospice nurse talks and explains your prognosis. They undertake patient evaluations and evaluate medical histories. They monitor vitals and examine breathing. They question you about your suffering and monitor pressure ulcers (wounds). The hospice nurse also assesses your living area for any safety issues.

They get a physician’s order for oxygen (if appropriate), a hospital bed, drugs, and other supplies as necessary. They train families/caregivers about pharmaceutical indications and adverse effects. They educate you on how to give drugs and are available to answer any queries. They design a plan of care for all professional caregivers to follow. They are in charge of LPNs and certified home health aides (CHHAs). A hospice nurse teaches your family about the illness process, hospice philosophy, diet, medicine, and skincare. They study and debate the DNR (do not resuscitate) document.


Hospice Nurse Job Description

Below are the hospice nurse job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a hospice nurse include the following;

  • Collaborate with doctors and other experts to plan care.
  • Make regular visits to the patient to assess their health.
  • Provide assistance and comfort according to every patient’s requirements.
  • Work with caregivers to plan and execute great patient care.
  • Help in giving medicine.
  • Alleviate abrupt symptoms of the disease’s final phase.
  • Notify a doctor regarding a patient’s condition when considered essential.
  • Assist patients and their families with documentation.
  • Maintain correct records.
  • Help the family to deal with the forthcoming loss and give post-mortem support.
  • Work together with doctors, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, and other stakeholders to provide care for patients who are terminally ill.
  • Put together and change patient care plans as necessary.
  • Perform specified procedures and give prescription medicines for pain relief.
  • Maintain and update patient files, health records, and medical records.
  • Notify of patient deaths to attending doctors, hospice personnel, and family members.
  • Provide mourning family members guidance on coping mechanisms, therapy options, and nearby resources.
  • Give the patient’s family assistance and attention when they need it.
  • Provide patients with emotional support and their families with assistance at difficult times.
  • Provide medical attention to patients in their homes, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
  • Prepare and deliver drugs by a doctor’s orders.
  • Conduct patient medical examinations, including taking their temperature, pulse, their breathing rate, and their blood pressure.
  • Provide patients and families with emotional support, solace, and inspiration.
  • Collaborate with other medical personnel on patient care plans and objectives.
  • Educate people on self-care techniques for managing their condition or impairment.
  • Offer patients who are dying or who have lost a loved one emotional assistance and consolation.
  • Communicate regularly with a multidisciplinary team including doctors, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, volunteer coordinators, and other hospice nurses.
  • Visit patients and evaluate their health.
  • Give help in line with every patient’s requirements.
  • Collaborate with caregivers to deliver the best possible patient care.
  • Assist in providing medication.
  • Alert doctors about changes in patients’ health.
  • Help patients and their families with administration and documentation.
  • Communicate all essential information and assessments via clear and succinct documentation.
  • Educate patients’ families on coping skills and give comfort and assistance.
  • Communicate regularly with a multidisciplinary team including doctors, social workers, chaplains, nursing assistants, volunteer coordinators, and other hospice nurses.
  • Educate patients’ families on coping skills and give comfort and assistance.
  • Give help in line with every patient’s requirements.
  • Collaborate with caregivers to deliver the best possible patient care.



  • Nursing degree.
  • Formal nursing training certification.
  • Current CPR certificate.
  • Previous working experience as a hospice nurse.
  • In-depth understanding of nursing care operations and giving drugs.
  • Familiarity with safety regulations.
  • Keen observation skills.
  • High ethical standards.
  • Compassionate nature and good communication.


Essential Skills

  • Emotional Support: Emotional support is the capacity to console patients and their families during a difficult period. Hospice aides typically deal with individuals who are suffering from life-threatening diseases, so it’s crucial that they can give emotional support to both patients and their loved ones. For example, if a patient is feeling nervous about treatment alternatives or unclear of what to anticipate, a hospice assistant may make them feel more comfortable by describing the issue in an understanding and sympathetic manner.
  • Listening: Listening is a vital ability for hospice aides to have since they typically interact with patients who are coping with life-changing crises. Hospice aides need to be able to listen to their patient’s concerns and answer any inquiries they may have. This also implies that hospice aids should be able to keep eye contact while interacting with patients, which may assist them in better grasping what the patient is saying.
  • Catheter Care: Catheter care is the capacity to utilize and maintain catheters, which are small tubes placed into a patient’s body for different purposes. Hospice aides typically deal with patients who have had surgery or other procedures that need them to be attached to an IV. This needs hospice workers to know how to insert and remove catheters as well as how to clean and disinfect the region where the catheter was inserted.
  • Medication Administration: Medication administration is a skill that may help you function as a hospice aide. Hospice aides typically provide drugs to patients who are in the later stages of life, and this involves knowledge of how to appropriately handle various kinds of medication. You may also need to teach individuals how to take their medications appropriately.
  • Observation: Observation skills are vital for hospice aides since they enable you to identify changes in a patient’s health. For example, if a patient is suffering pain or discomfort, your observation abilities may help you determine the cause of their symptoms and take action to treat them. Your ability to observe also helps you to determine when a patient needs assistance with everyday routines like eating or bathing.
  • Wound Care: Hospice aides generally care for patients who are in the latter stages of life. This implies that you may be caring for someone who has a wound or an injury, such as bedsore, which needs specific care and treatment. Wound care is one of the most crucial skills to know while working as a hospice assistant since it may help assure your patient’s comfort and safety.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Hospice aides interact with patients and their families, so it’s crucial to have interpersonal skills. You should be able to communicate effectively with your patients and their loved ones as well as other hospice staff members. It’s also beneficial to be empathic while dealing with people who are suffering from life-threatening diseases.
  • Communication: Communication is the capacity to transmit information. Hospice aides must be able to interact with patients and their families, as well as other medical professionals who may be engaged in a patient’s care. This involves relaying information regarding treatment plans, medication regimens, and other elements of a patient’s health state. It also requires sharing delicate information like discussing end-of-life care choices or alerting patients and family members after a patient has died.
  • Patience: Hospice aides must be patient with their patients and the family of their patients. This is an extremely emotionally charged profession, therefore it’s crucial to stay cool and collected while dealing with people who are feeling sorrow or other powerful emotions. It may also be important for hospice aides to show patience with patients who may require assistance learning how to utilize equipment like feeding tubes or oxygen tanks.
  • End-of-Life Care: Hospice aides generally care for patients who are in the latter stages of life. This implies that you may be caring for someone who is terminally sick and has a short amount of time left to live. It’s crucial to have compassion while dealing with these patients, as well as understanding how to offer them comfort and care during this tough time.
  • Compassion: Hospice aides are generally the first individual’s patients contact when they join a hospice program. They may be responsible for clarifying the patient’s diagnosis and assisting them to comprehend what to anticipate throughout their therapy. This might entail offering emotional assistance, which involves compassion. Hospice aides also require compassion while engaging with individuals who have terminal diseases.
  • Patient Education: Patient education is the ability to explain medical conditions and treatment plans to patients. Hospice aides typically deal with patients who are terminally ill, so it’s crucial that they have a complete awareness of the illness process and how their therapies may impact them. This allows hospice aides to answer patient questions and help them understand what to expect during their treatment.
  • Vital Signs: Vital signs are a skill that may help you evaluate the health of people. It’s crucial to know how to take someone’s temperature, blood pressure, and pulse so you can notice any changes in their health. You may also need to monitor these signs over time to follow a patient’s development or relapse.
  • Patient Assessment: Patient evaluation is the capacity to recognize a patient’s requirements and give them the proper therapy. Hospice aides generally deal with patients who are in the end phases of life, so it’s crucial that they properly evaluate their health and know how to make them feel comfortable. For example, if a patient suffers discomfort, a hospice assistant may be able to offer methods for them to manage it or refer them to other services.
  • Safety Procedures: Safety protocols are the measures that a medical practitioner or assistant conducts to safeguard their own and others’ safety. Hospice aides should be aware of any safety practices at the facility they work in, including emergency response plans and fire evacuation routes. They also need to know how to manage potentially harmful circumstances, such as when patients have seizures or grow angry.
  • Infection Control: Hospice aides sometimes work in close contact with patients, which means they may be exposed to infectious infections. Hospice aides adopt adequate infection control procedures to protect themselves and their patients from sickness. For example, if a patient has an open wound, the aide should wear gloves while caring for them.


How to Become a Hospice Nurse

  • Obtaining a bachelor’s degree: A reputable institution or college’s bachelor of science in nursing is the most sought-after qualification for prospective nurses. An associate of science in nursing, which is sometimes a slightly shorter degree provided by nursing schools and community colleges, may also be used to get your nursing license.
  • Whatever degree you decide on, it must provide a balance of classroom instruction and clinical practice to help you be ready for a job in nursing and to acquire strong occupational competence.
  • Obtain a nursing license: You must first pass the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses to get your nursing license (NCLEX-RN). Apply first to the state where you want to work. The exam, which often includes multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and ordered answer questions, may be taken once you’ve been approved. You will be granted a legitimate license as a registered nurse after passing the test.
  • Acquire practical experience: It’s crucial to get experience as a registered nurse in hospitals or other healthcare institutions before working as a hospice nurse. One to two years of nursing experience may be required by certain hospice organizations. Consider seeking experience in medical surgery, the intensive care unit, or geriatrics while working as a registered nurse at a hospital. For prospective hospice nurses, those three fields provide a lot of experience and professional growth possibilities.
  • Continue your education: A master’s degree in hospice and palliative nursing is often pursued by registered nurses who want to work in hospices. However, nurses may also opt to specialize in certain areas, such as critical care unit, triage, case management, or rehabilitation, as part of the majority of hospice master’s programs. Your job title often changes from registered nurse to advanced practice nurse after receiving your master’s in nursing.
  • Pass the certification test for hospice nurses: Getting your hospice nurse certification will help you get ready for hospice nursing roles and show that you have the qualifications for the job, even if not all hospice nurse positions need it.

You must first pass an exam given by the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses to get your certification. You may become a certified hospice nurse by obtaining this qualification, but you will need to renew it every four years.


Where to Work as Hospice Nurse

Hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes are just a few of the places where hospice nurses work. They could treat people with AIDS, cancer, or other grave conditions. In addition to providing physical nursing care, hospice nurses also closely collaborate with patients and their families to provide emotional and spiritual support. They also assist patients and families in making choices regarding end-of-life care by educating them about the dying process. Although hospice nurses normally work full-time hours, they may be available for emergencies for patients who are unable to get treatment during the day, they may also work on weekends and in the evenings. Hospice nurses need to be able to handle the emotional strain of caring for patients who are nearing the end of their lives and their families.


Hospice Nurse Salary Scale

In the USA, the typical hospice nurse harper ns $75,993 per year, or $38.97 per hour. Most experienced professionals may earn up to $97,500 per year, while entry-level occupations start at $60,306 annually.

In the UK, the average income for a hospice nurse is £39,160 per year or £20.10 per hour. Most experienced professionals earn up to £49,891 per year, while entry-level roles start at £33,836.

In Canada, the typical hospice nurse employee earns $55,442 per year or $33.56 per hour. Most experienced professionals earn up to $83,726 per year, while entry-level roles start at $41,396.

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