Every year, National Nurses Week starts on May 6th and ends on May 12th—Florence Nightingale’s birthday. These permanent dates are intended to enhance planning while also positioning National Nurses Week as an established event. 

This year, we wanted to take a moment and show our appreciation for all of the hardworking and compassionate hospice and palliative care nurses. Hospice and palliative care nurses take on the crucial role of taking care of terminally ill patients and their families. The primary focus of hospice and palliative care nurses is comfort and advocating for their patients. 

Responsibilities of Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses

The hospice nurse works to create an environment of pain and symptom relief and comfort for their patients. They tend to their patient’s physical, psychological, and spiritual needs and desires.

Palliative care nurses dedicate their time to patients who are near death. They work with the patient’s family and also provide bereavement services to the family after their loved one passes.

The Vital Role of Hospice/Palliative Care Nurses

Hospice and palliative care nurses are, above all else, advocates for their patients. They are dedicated to providing the best end-of-life care possible and make many sacrifices along the way— this month, and every month, we salute the sacrifices and dedication of hospice and palliative care nurses.

Hospice and palliative care nurses are often the sole source of support during this fragile time. The looming death is extremely hard on the patient and their families alike, and the hospice and palliative nurses are there to guide families through the difficult process. They are also there as the family has difficult decisions to make regarding treatments to benefit the patient in their last weeks/months on earth. Nurses are there at this time to step in and provide guidance and comfort.

Again, thank you to all of the hardworking hospice and palliative care nurses out there— we appreciate you!

The Florence Nightingale Pledge

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and presence of this assembly; To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.

I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.

I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.

With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

Source: Vanderbilt Nursing School