A rehabilitation nurse is a nurse who assists in restorative activities of patients in orthopedics, neurology or drug rehabilitation. Patients who have had strokes or brain injuries require neurological rehabilitation, patients who have sustained broken bones need orthopedic rehabilitation and patients addicted to drugs or alcohol need drug or alcohol rehabilitation. A rehabilitation nurse may work in a hospital, drug rehab, specialty clinic or skilled care nursing facility by helping a patient to gain independence.
Rehabilitation nurses help chronically injured patients reach their full potential by following plans of care instilled by physical therapist, neurologist, speech therapists, psychologist and other specialist. The goal is to help patients become independent by reaching small-term and long-term goals. Family participation is an important part of patients’ therapeutic process which aides in their confidence and well-being. A rehabilitation nurse working in a drug rehabilitation unit will collaborate with a licensed drug rehabilitation counselor on a regular basis. Rehabilitation nurses who work on orthopedic units learn how to care for fractured hips, broken extremities and other muscular skeletal injuries patients have sustained. The follow thru with exercises ordered by a physical therapist and encourage patients to do as much as they can independently.
Three Types of Rehabilitation Nursing Careers:
In order to becoming a rehabilitation nurse, a student is required to attend an Associate degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program. After successfully completing the program, he/she must sit for the NCLEX exam for licensure.
In order to become a director or manager of a rehabilitation unit or center a registered nurse must attain a Master's of Science in nursing degree.
After working for a certain amount of hours on a rehabilitation unit, a registered nurse can test to become a certified rehabilitation nurse. Certification demonstrates commitment to excellence in caring for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Certification is attained through the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board (RNCB) and has to be renewed every five years after completing a certain amount of continuing education units.
The following are a list of basic job descriptions that apply to a rehabilitation nurse. Descriptions will vary according to type of rehabilitation a nurse is practicing in:
The median salary for a rehabilitation nurse is $66,000. Salaries may be more or less depending upon experience and geographical location. Career outlook for rehabilitation nurses is good since the population is aging and requiring more health care. Changes in health care reform are also creating more job openings for rehabilitation nurses since the focus is on restoration and independence which ultimately reduces healthcare costs.
Association of Rehabilitation Nurses: http://www.rehabnurse.org/certification/content/Index.html
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