The Most Critical Care: Your Journey to Becoming a Hospice Nurse

The Most Critical Care: Your Journey to Becoming a Hospice Nurse

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, NHCPS

posted on Jan 18, 2016, at 12:09 am


5 Stages to Become a Hospice Nurse Header

IT TAKES A SPECIAL TYPE OF PERSON to be a hospice nurse, and at National Health Care Provider Solutions we have the utmost respect for those with the passionate hearts to pursue a career in hospice nursing. A career as a hospice nurse is an opportunity to care for patients during the last moments of their lives and it should be an honor to be by their side during this critical time.

A hospice nurse has several responsibilities but essentially provide care for critically ill patients who are near death, working closely with their family members and other health care professionals.

If you have an interest in hospice nursing, there are certain education and training skills required for the job. Check out these 5 essential steps below:

5 Stages on your Journey to Becoming a Hospice Nurse

5 Stages to Become a Hospice Nurse Thumbnail#1 Attend college and receive a diploma
Either a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) are required to be completed during college prior to becoming a hospice nurse.

Both options are popular, but are slightly different. A BSN is a 4-year degree at a university, while an ASN is a program that typically only takes a couple of years at specific nursing schools and community colleges.

#2 Take (and pass!) the NCLEX-RN
After graduating school and receiving your diploma, it’s time to gear up for one of the biggest physical tests in your career as a hospice nurse! The NCLEX-RN is an exam taken by all registered nurses and must be taken as soon as possible.

#3 Get involved and learn from others
After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, it’s time to gain experience in the very specific 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.

#4 Take (and pass!) the Hospice & Palliative Nurses Certification exam
If you choose, you can become certified in hospice care through the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses, which is located in Pennsylvania.

After passing the exam, you will be given the proper accreditation to your name and are able to continue on your final journey to finding work in hospice care facilities.

#5 Apply for work in hospice care facilities and units
The final step in your journey is finding and applying for job at hospice care facilities in your local area! Renewal of your certifications should be further looked into every two to four years.

Check out this infographic we’ve created below on your journey to becoming a hospice nurse!

5 Stages to Become a Hospice Nurse

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at

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