What is Rehabilitation Nursing?
Rehabilitation nurses focuses on working with patients who are affected by a chronic illness, long term injury, or disability, with the goal of helping them to achieve the highest possible level of independence. This progressive nursing specialty involves setting many physical and mental goals for patients and helping them to reach these goals before moving on to more advanced goals. Rehabilitation nurses often have the opportunity to forge long-term, rewarding relationships with patients as they help them to gain control over their lives.
According to Johnson & Johnson, some typical daily tasks of rehabilitation nurses include creating an individualized recovery plan, helping patients to learn how to adapt to disabilities, preparing patients and their families for challenges, and helping patients to achieve independence. With additional education, individuals are able to focus on a specific sub-specialty within rehabilitation nursing and to take on more advanced nursing roles.
What is the Typical Work Environment for a Rehabilitation Nurse?
Rehabilitation nurses work in a variety of settings. Some of them work in rehabilitation centers, but others work for hospitals, home care agencies, and long-term care centers.
What Education and Certification is Necessary?
In order to become a rehabilitation nurse, one must first become a registered nurse. The first step in doing this is to earn a diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree from an accredited registered nursing program. After graduating, the individual must pass the NCLEX-RN and apply for a license to practice.
After 2 years of practice as a registered nurse (within the past 5 years) in a rehabilitation setting, a nurse with an unencumbered license is eligible to take the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) exam from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN). Those who cannot fulfill this practice requirement are still eligible if, within 5 years of the certification exam, they have completed 1 year of experience as a registered nurse in a rehabilitation setting and 1 year of advanced study, beyond the baccalaureate level. Certification must be renewed every 5 years.
What is the Average Salary and Job Outlook?
The salaries of nurses are likely to depend largely on the geographic location and employer. Other factors that influence pay are an individual's education and experience level. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), in a 2012 report, states that the median average salary for a registered nurse is $65,470. The BLS also predicts a positive employment outlook for registered nursing, with 19% job growth from 2012-2022. The report states that job growth is likely to be higher in outpatient care centers, such as rehabilitation centers, which is great news for rehabilitation nurses.