Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing in Alabama
While medical advances have improved outcomes for many diseases and eradicated others, there are many patients with chronic illnesses who still need end-of-life medical support. Hospice and palliative nurses in Alabama, represented by the Alabama Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, provide crucial services that help patients preserve their freedom of choice, dignity, and comfort while in the final stages of life. Those who study palliative care at the Master’s degree level provide education to patients and family members, discuss care options with patients’ other practitioners, and ensure that patients’ wishes are respected. If you want to make a difference for struggling families and patients, learn more about hospice nurse certification and education programs in Alabama.
Master’s Degree Programs in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing in Alabama
Master’s degree programs in palliative care generally allow Alabama nursing students to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing while focusing on hospice care. This involves choosing a population to serve as a nurse practitioner. While many students choose to focus on gerontological care, adult healthcare and pediatrics are options to consider, as these populations do still benefit from hospice care.
Adding hospice certification to an existing Master’s degree does increase your overall credit load, so you may earn between 50 and 60 credits over a period of approximately three years. APRN programs often have RN-to-MSN options, so Associate’s-level nurses may be able to combine their undergraduate and graduate education.
On top of general nurse practitioner courses, you must complete a set of palliative and hospice courses. Common courses are listed below:
• Foundations of Palliative Care
• Advanced Practice Nurses in Palliative Care
• Advanced Chronic Illness Care
• Pain and Suffering in the Chronically Ill
• Quality of Life and Disease Progression
• Advanced Disease States
• Treatment Modalities
Clinical work is essential for hospice nursing education, since transitioning from a registered nursing role to a nurse practitioner role is a major shift in responsibility. Most nurse practitioner programs in Alabama require close to 1000 hours of clinical work, including hours specifically dedicated to hospice work.
After becoming a nurse practitioner and working with hospice patients, you may look into hospice and palliative care certification. The Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center requires 500 hours of APRN work in hospice care in the year prior to licensure. This certification awards the title of Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse.
There are many scholarships open to those who want to specialize in hospice care. The Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation awards scholarships of $2,000 to Master’s degree students.
The Role of Hospice/Palliative Care Nurses in Alabama
After earning your degree, you may start working in hospice while waiting to be eligible for hospice nursing certification. Alabama facilities hire palliative care nurses under a variety of job titles, including hospice care consultant, home hospice nurse, inpatient hospice nurse, and hospice care case manager.
Most hospice nurses travel to patients and provide care in their homes. However, Alabama does have an inpatient hospice care center for patients who prefer to remain in a medical setting. In your day-to-day work, you may be responsible for patient assessment. This includes initial patient assessments and ongoing updates. Due to the nature of palliative work, you must consider a patient’s physical, psychosocial, emotional, and mental needs as you look into care options. Along with other care providers on your team, you may develop and alter plans as the need arises.
Palliative care certification can help you explore your potential as a nurse and help patients through the end-of-life stage.
Learn more about educational options now by contacting hospice nursing programs in Alabama.