Advice from Men in Hospice Nursing
Sometimes, the best way to explore a career or consider a career change is to ask the very people who work in that profession.
So what’s it like to work as a male nurse in the hospice profession?
The number of men entering the nursing profession has been rising since 1960, and two experienced VITAS nurses offer their advice and insights to other male nurses—those who are thinking about choosing hospice as their specialty, and those who might never have even considered nursing as a career path.
“If you have the want or the desire, just do it. And don’t stop your education. Keep going,” advises George Gale, LPN, RN, BSN, and a VITAS hospice nurse since 2016 in Brevard County, Florida.
He joined VITAS after a career as a military-trained nurse whose deployment experiences around the world spanned pediatrics, neonatal care, medical-surgical units, cardiology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and field hospitals.
“Hospice nursing can be overwhelming if you’re brand new. But it’s great, especially if you have a background in other nursing and specialties,” he says. “You need to be able to be on your own and make decisions.”
Richard Hosford, LPN, agrees: nursing requires men to be simultaneously professional, compassionate and adaptable.
“Be ready to be challenged on a daily basis,” says Hosford, Intensive Comfort Care® training coordinator for the VITAS in Broward County, Florida. “Hospice is an ever-evolving world and a field that’s progressing and changing daily.
“Nursing can be difficult. It’s mentally, physically and emotionally challenging. You need to have your goals and your professional barriers in place to be able to process everything you’ll encounter … but it’s also a very rewarding experience.”