What Is A Rehabilitation Nurse?
A rehabilitation nurse is one whose job it is to ensure that patients recover fully from an illness or injury as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that patients who work with a rehabilitation nurse do in fact seem to reach their recovery goals at a faster rate. Consequently this is a very valuable nursing specialty that many nurses strive towards. As recovery is required in a number of settings, you will be able to work in nearly any health care facility.
Nature Of The Work/duties
According to another website there are a number of tasks and job roles that you will be required to fulfill as a rehabilitation nurse. The main ones are the following:
- Showing patients how to adapt to temporary, or permanent, disabilities: This involves physical support and advice, as well as emotional support as the patient comes to terms with his or her new limitations.
- Prepare patients, and their families for rehabilitation challenges: This also involves a mental (as well as a physical and practical) aspect as you help your patient and his family understand that the ‘limitations’ in question needn’t mean the end of success.
- Help patients return to their daily lives: This is something that tends to be possible in most rehabilitation cases after a certain amount of work and effort is put in.
As a rehabilitation nurse exists to work mainly with patients who are in the process of recovering from a condition or other ailment of some kind, employment in this line of nursing tends to be limited to places where such patients are more likely to be found. Consequently you are more likely to work in the following facilities as a rehabilitation nurse than anywhere else:
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Home healthcare agencies
- Long-term acute care or sub acute care facilities
Employment statistics are good for this line of nursing and there are plenty of facilities across the country that require professionals of this kind. Some hospitals may also require rehabilitation nurses to work with patients after surgery. Employment opportunities are many and fairly varied for a nurse with a specialization in rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation Nurse Requirements
There are as number of requirements that you will need to meet to be a rehabilitation nurse. You will need:
- A Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in order to become a rehabilitation nurse
- Courses in rehabilitation
- An internship at a rehabilitation facility
- A pass in the NCLEX-RN licensing exam
- 2 years of experience as an RN in rehabilitation nursing
- Rehabilitation nurse certification from the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB) through the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN)
These requirements have to be met in the order specified above as this is the process required for qualifying as a nursing specialist in practically every domain. If you meet all of the above requirements, you are a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN).
The following are key personality traits required in rehabilitation nurses:
- Physical fitness
- Innovative thinking
- The ability to work in a team
Clearly physical fitness is one of the more important traits here as you will frequently be required to provide your patients with physical assistance in moving from one place to another and so on. Any prior experience in nursing that helps you develop any of the above personality skills and traits will stand you in good stead on your journey to becoming a rehabilitation nurse. Most of these traits are required in all spheres of nursing so you will have several opportunities to improve your skills in this regard across the board. These four skills are probably the most important in rehabilitation nursing.
As with all nursing specialties rehabilitation nursing requires a number of educational steps. Once you have a high school diploma or a GED that is an equivalent of a high school diploma you will need to do the following steps:
- You will need a Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in order to become a rehabilitation nurse.
- You will need to take courses in rehabilitation that will prepare you for the certification exam (in addition, getting an internship at a rehabilitation facility can help you get the experience that you need to pass the exam).
In short you need to meet the educational requirements for being an RN before you can go on to become a rehabilitation nurse.
Before you can become a rehabilitation nurse you have to become licensed as an RN. To do his you will have to complete undergraduate training in nursing that results in a diploma, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This will qualify you to be an RN. Apply for licensure with your state board of nursing. Your state board of nursing will either confirm or reject your application. Once you application is confirmed you need to set an exam date to take the national exam, known as the NCLEX-RN. This exam is administered by Pearson Vue. A pass on the exam means that you can go back to your state board of nursing and ask for your official license. This RN license needs to be renewed on a regular basis.
How To Become A Rehabilitation Nurse
Training, Advancement And Other Qualifications
The training that you will receive in order to become a rehabilitation nurse will be, for the most part, on the job training in the context of an internship. There are, however, actual training classes that you can attend to boost your knowledge. If you want to advance your career in this regard you can attend further education classes and become:
- A case manager
- A researcher
- An educator
- A nurse practitioner
- A clinical specialist
- A specialist in cardiac rehabilitation and other specific areas of health care
There are plenty of opportunities for nurses that hold a qualification in rehabilitation nursing. It is an area of nursing that will always be necessary and consequently you will always be able to find work. In addition, there is a lot of room for growth.
Source An Accredited Education Program
To become a rehabilitation nurse you need to complete the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) qualification which is provided by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN). There are a number of schools that offer this qualification, but you need to make sure that the school is accredited. The body that accredits these schools is:
- The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC-COA)
A school that is not accredited is a waste of time. This is because you will not be able to earn a qualification from that school that will be usable as a way to get a job as a rehabilitation nurse. Consequently sourcing an accredited school is very important. Often your state board of nursing will also be able to provide you with information regarding whether or not a school is accredited.
Earn Your Associate’s Degree
Although an associate’s degree may be useful in your career as an RN, you will need a bachelor’s degree in order to become a rehabilitation nurse. When you go to nursing school you should get a bachelor’s degree that either:
- Gives you BSN status, or
- Allows you to write the RN certification examination
When training to be an RN you need to ensure that, when you have the opportunity to make a choice, you choose clinical training opportunities that are related to rehabilitative nursing. This will stand you in good stead in the long run by improving your resume. The more experience you have in the specialty in which you would like to qualify, the higher the chances are that you will receive a job in that particular line of work.
Obtain Your Licensure
Once you have received your licensure to practice as an RN you need to become certified as a rehabilitation nurse. You get rehabilitation nurse certification from the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB) through the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN). To get this certification you need to have worked for a set number of years as an RN in rehabilitation nursing. This certification will allow you to specialize in the area and thereby earn more money than you would simply as an RN. This certification also needs to be renewed periodically, much like your initial RN license. This is to ensure that you keep up to date with the latest advancements in the field. The renewal dates and periods for your certification in rehabilitation nursing will depend on where you work as different states have different rules.
Online/Distance Education Programs
There are two parts to any training program for becoming an RN:
- The theory side
- The clinical side
Consequently, because there is a specified amount of clinical practice that you must do in order to earn this qualification, it is impossible to become an RN entirely online. However you can make things more convenient for yourself by completing the theory side of the qualification through an online medium that does not require you to attend classroom based lessons. This means that you will not be required to give up your job, if you do an LPN to RN bridging program you may find that the concentration of the work that can be done online is more as you would have already completed a large portion of clinical training during your LPN studies as well as during your time working as an LPN> however clinical training as an RN will still be required to some degree.
Between 2008 and 2018 we can expect to see growth in the number of jobs for all registered nurses. This growth is being fueled by the baby boom generation who are now reaching old age. Elderly people are often in need of rehabilitation nurses as they are more prone to suffer more severely when they fall or experience a sickness. Consequently we can see a corresponding rate of growth in the job prospects of all rehabilitation nurses in the next few years. As jobs go this is one that is likely to provide guaranteed job security over the long term. As you are also required to have general nursing skills as well as specific rehabilitative skills you will also be eligible for employment in a number of other health care settings as well.
The more experience you have as rehabilitation nurse, the more you will be eligible to earn while working in this line of nursing. Even a starting salary for someone who recently entered this field of nursing is quite good. If we consider the salary that you can earn as according to experience we see the following statistics:
- With less than 10 years of experience you can earn an average of $70,000 a year.
- With 10 to 19 years of experience you can earn an average of $72,500 a year.
- With more than 20 years of experience you can earn an average of $78,000 a year.
Other factors, such as your state and your gender as well as your degree level, also play important roles in determining how much you will earn as a rehabilitation nurse.
This is one of the more physically tiring jobs in nursing as you will be required t lift and carry patients. Consequently it is a job only worth considering if you are physically able to perform the roles required. There are many nursing specialties, but this is one of the options that comes with one of the best salaries in the field, and is therefore well worth your consideration. A rehabilitation nurse can work in any setting involving patients who are in the process of recovering from an illness or injury and who require assistance to facilitate this process.