Career Overview of a Rehabilitation Nurse
Generally, a rehabilitation nurse specializes in assisting patients recovering from a chronic illness or debilitating injury. This assistance includes providing transitional support to patients, their families and primary caregivers throughout the recovery process. The rehabilitation nurse may devise a short-term and long-term treatment plan, depending on the illness or injury.
Education and Certification Requirements
There are several academic avenues available to anyone interested in becoming a rehabilitation nurse.
A registered nurse (RN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) may choose to gain on-the-job training in a long-term care or healthcare facility that offers in rehabilitation services. In some cases, a RN may also complete a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Nursing.
Typically, a minimum Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and two years of work experience in a rehabilitation facility is required to sit for a certification exam. This certification is offered through the Association or Rehabilitation Nurses. Known as a Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN) credential, this gives RNs the designation to practice rehabilitative medicine.
Work Environment for a Rehabilitation Nurse
The philosophy of care in helping patients after an injury or illness guides the work environment for rehabilitation nurses. A primary task is creating individualized treatment plans with rehabilitative goals for patients. Additionally, educating patients and caregivers about restorative care is essential to help patients return to an independent, active lifestyle. Rehabilitation nurses may also collaborate with other healthcare specialists regarding patient care.
This can become a physically demanding job, as many patients are in wheelchairs or using other medical devices that inhibit mobility. The treatment plan takes a holistic approach to meeting the medical, environmental, educational and emotional needs of the patient to achieve full recovery.
On a daily basis, a rehabilitation nurse may work as a case manager, educator, researcher or administrator in a variety of healthcare facilitiess including:
• Acute care
• Medical clinics
• Private practice
Rehabilitation nurses may also work for local schools, home healthcare agencies and hospitals that specialize in rehabilitative services.
Average Salary for a Rehabilitation Nurse
The average salary for a CRRN is $61,000 annually. The actual amount will vary depending on the geographical location and healthcare facility where the rehabilitation nurse is employed.
In some cases, a rehabilitation nurse can earn $70,000 or more annually. Those who practice in a specialized medical condition may earn substantially more.
The healthcare will continue to see tremendous growth and opportunity as the aging population lives longer and require ongoing care. Specifically, there are a number of factors that will contribute to the growth in career opportunities for rehabilitation nurses. The growing emphasis on preventive care, advances in technology and rehabilitative medicine will lead to many job openings throughout the country.
Similar Nursing Fields
Rehabilitation nurses may work in more specialized areas. Cardiac rehabilitation nurses work with patients who are recovering from a heart attack. A substance abuse rehabilitation nurse works with patients overcoming an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. Mental illness rehabilitation nurses care for patients in psychiatric wards and other mental health facilities.