What does a Rehabilitation Nurse do?
Rehabilitation nursing is a specialized field of nursing that focuses on helping patients recover from illness, injury, or disability. Rehabilitation nurses typically work with patients who have had a disease, injury, or other medical condition that has left them with physical or cognitive sequelae. Those diseases include stroke, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amputations, and cardiac and pulmonary conditions.
Rehabilitation nurses provide specialized care and support to help patients regain their independence and achieve their highest level of functioning. Rehabilitation nurses can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities, and play an important role in helping patients regain their independence and achieve their highest level of functioning.
The duties of a rehabilitation nurse may include:
– Assessing patient needs and developing individualized care plans.
– Administering medication and treatments.
– Providing wound care and other specialized nursing care.
– Collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists.
– Educating patients and their families about their care plan and how to manage their conditions at home.
– Monitoring and documenting patient progress and adjusting care plans as needed.
One of the biggest challenges of working as a rehabilitation nurse is working with patients who have complex medical conditions and disabilities. These patients may require extensive medical care and may face significant physical and emotional challenges. Rehabilitation nurses must be skilled in managing complex medical conditions and providing emotional support to patients and their families.
The rehabilitation nursing field has a promising future ahead, with a growing demand for skilled rehabilitation nurses in the United States. As the population ages and the prevalence of chronic health conditions increases, the need for rehabilitation services is expected to grow. This is likely to lead to increased job opportunities and continued demand for skilled rehabilitation nurses.
It’s important to note the difference between a rehabilitation nurse and a rehabilitation nurse practitioner. While both professionals work in the field of rehabilitation nursing, rehabilitation nurse practitioners have advanced education and training that allows them to diagnose and treat medical conditions, prescribe medication, and provide more advanced medical care. Rehabilitation nurses work under the direction of a physician or nurse practitioner and provide more general nursing care to patients in rehabilitation.
How to become a Rehabilitation Nurse
To become a rehabilitation nurse, here are some steps that you can take:
– Obtain a nursing degree: to become a rehabilitation nurse, you will need to complete a nursing degree program. This can be an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
– Obtain a nursing license: once you have completed a nursing degree program, you will need to obtain a nursing license. This requires passing the NCLEX-RN exam and meeting the licensing requirements in your state.
– Gain nursing experience: to become a rehabilitation nurse, you will need to have some nursing experience. This can be gained by working in a hospital or other healthcare setting. You can also look for opportunities to volunteer or shadow a rehabilitation nurse.
– Obtain certification: while certification is not required to work as a rehabilitation nurse, it can help demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. There are several certification options available, including the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) credential.
– Pursue continuing education: as a rehabilitation nurse, it is important to stay up to date with the latest developments in the field. This can be achieved through attending conferences, taking continuing education courses, and participating in professional organizations.
To become a rehabilitation nurse practitioner, there are a few extra steps, which are:
– Complete a nurse practitioner program: to become a rehabilitation nurse practitioner, you will need to complete a nurse practitioner program that specializes in rehabilitation. These programs can be found at the master or doctoral level.
– Obtain certification: to practice as a nurse practitioner, you will need to obtain certification in your specialty area. There are several certification options available, including the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) credential.
Pursue continuing education: as a rehabilitation nurse practitioner, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field. This can be achieved through attending conferences, taking continuing education courses, and participating in professional organizations.
Skills of a Rehabilitation Nurse
Here are some of the skills that are necessary to become a rehabilitation nurse:
– Empathy: empathy is an essential skill for rehabilitation nurses, as they work with patients who may be experiencing physical and emotional pain. A rehabilitation nurse should be able to understand and relate to a patient’s experience and be able to provide the emotional support that they need.
– Communication: effective communication is crucial for rehabilitation nurses, as they work closely with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.
– Patience: rehabilitation can be a slow and sometimes frustrating process, and rehabilitation nurses must be patient and understanding with their patients. They must be able to encourage and motivate their patients, even when progress may be slow.
– Critical thinking: rehabilitation nurses must be able to think critically and creatively to develop individualized treatment plans for their patients. They must be able to analyze a patient’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses to develop a plan that is tailored to their specific situation.
– Problem-solving: rehabilitation nurses must be able to identify and solve problems that may arise during a patient’s rehabilitation process. This may involve adjusting treatment plans, providing additional support or resources, or communicating with other healthcare professionals.
– Flexibility: rehabilitation nurses must be flexible and adaptable, as the needs of their patients may change over time. They must be able to adjust treatment plans and provide support as needed to ensure that their patients can achieve their goals.
– Attention to detail: rehabilitation nurses must be detail-oriented and able to closely monitor a patient’s progress. They must be able to identify subtle changes in a patient’s condition and adjust their treatment plan accordingly.
Salary of a Rehabilitation Nurse
On average, the annual salary of a rehabilitation nurse in the United States is a total of $82,666, with a base salary of $78,362 per year. This estimate also includes an additional payment of $4,305 per year, which may consist of cash bonuses, commissions, tips, or profit-sharing incentives.
However, rehabilitation nurses who have additional education and certifications, such as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) credential, and nurse practitioners can earn higher salaries. Additionally, rehabilitation nurses who work in specialized settings, such as hospitals or long-term care facilities, may earn higher salaries than those who work in general medical or surgical hospitals.
Q: How long does it take to become a rehabilitation nurse?
A: The path to becoming a rehabilitation nurse typically starts with completing a nursing program to become a registered nurse (RN). This can take anywhere from two to four years, depending on the program. After becoming an RN, individuals can then gain experience working in a rehabilitation setting and complete additional training or education to specialize in rehabilitation nursing. This can take several years depending on the individual’s career goals and educational path.
Q: What is a certified rehabilitation nurse?
A: A certified rehabilitation nurse (CRRN) is a nurse who has met the certification requirements set by the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB). To become a CRRN, a nurse must have a current and active RN license, at least two years of professional experience in rehabilitation nursing, and pass a certification exam. The exam covers topics related to rehabilitation nursing, including assessment and evaluation, care planning, and patient education. Earning the CRRN credential signifies a nurse’s advanced knowledge and skills in rehabilitation nursing.
Q: Where do rehabilitation nurses work?
A: Rehabilitation nurses work in different environments including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, schools, community health centers, etc. Rehabilitation nurses may work with patients of all ages, from children to seniors, and may work in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
“Rehabilitation Nurse Salaries.” Glassdoor, Accessed 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/rehabilitation-nurse-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm.
“Earn Your CRRN.” Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, Accessed 16 Feb. 2023, https://rehabnurse.org/crrn-certification/earn-your-crrn.