“It must be so depressing,” is often the first comment. It’s followed by, “Oh, you must be special because it has to be really hard.” The first time I heard those comments, I was actually taken aback. But these are often the first things you hear when you tell someone that you work as a palliative or hospice nurse.
I don’t work in palliative care anymore. But I had the privilege of doing so, part-time, for almost five years. It wasn’t depressing and it wasn’t “really hard.” In fact, it was the most rewarding nursing job I’ve ever done.
In nursing school, we’re taught how to help people as they recover from their illnesses, injuries, or surgeries. Death is discussed, most often in terms of us trying to avoid it. However, there are some lessons on how to deal with dying patients and their family members. More schools are introducing a palliative care and hospice component to their nursing programs.But it is only recently that palliative and hospice care is coming into its own as a specialty that nurses want to work in.
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