Rehabilitation nurses work closely with patients following the onset of a disabling injury or chronic illness - usually within orthopedics, neurology, or drug rehabilitation. Although they wear many hats, the primary objective of a rehabilitation nurse is to help assist patients in dealing with and overcoming any personal limitations which may result because of their disability. Rehabilitation nurses are educators, care coordinators, advocates and agents of change who help to restore patients' lives so that they regain their independence and freedom to the best of their ability. These nurses work alongside other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, neuropsychiatrists, addiction specialists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and other specialists to create comprehensive care plans that are personally tailored to reach patient goals. Rehabilitation nurses have the chance to establish intimate relationships with patients and their loved ones.
Duties which are commonly performed by rehabilitation nurses often include:
Rehab nurses can find gainful employment in the following areas:
Prospective rehab nurses must start by earning an RN degree. It is advisable to try to take courses having to do with disabilities and rehabilitation if at all possible. Gaining some experience in the field of rehabilitation - preferably two to three years, is advantageous. Those serious about becoming Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses (CRRN) will need to seek certification through the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB), which is an independent organization under the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
To become a rehabilitation nurse, one must meet the following educational requirements:
Although master's degrees specific to advanced practice rehabilitation nursing aren't yet available, advanced practice rehabilitation nurses do exist. To reach this level, individuals should pursue one of the following post-graduate degrees:
Yes, rehabilitation nurses are required to hold active and unrestricted RN licenses to practice in their specialty field.
In order to be eligible to take the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) credential exam, the following requirements must be fulfilled:
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 2 million rehabilitation nursing and registered nursing positions in the country. An increased emphasis on preventative care, advances in technology, an aging population, and other factors suggest that the employment opportunities in the nursing sector will continue to expand.
According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary for Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses (CRRNs) is approximately $80,000. Pay rates for rehab nurses will depend heavily on factors such as the amount of experience nurses have, what their educational credentials are, the city and state in which they're employed in, and the employer. Although the same factors will also play a role in determining what kind of benefits a rehabilitation nurse will receive, it's common for nurses in this specialty to receive the same or similar benefits as most traditional RNs. Medical insurance, paid time off, and other perks are regularly available to rehab nurses.