What do Rehabilitation Nurses do?
Rehabilitation nurses help individuals affected by chronic illness or physical disability to adapt to their disabilities, achieve their greatest potential, and work toward productive, independent lives. They take a holistic approach to meeting patients’ medical, vocational, educational, environmental, and spiritual needs.
Rehabilitation nurses begin to work with individuals and their families soon after the onset of a disabling injury or chronic illness. They continue to provide support in the form of patient and family education and empower these individuals when they go home or return to work or school. The rehabilitation nurse often teaches patients and their caregivers how to access systems and resources.
Rehabilitation nursing is a philosophy of care,
not a work setting or a phase of treatment.
Rehabilitation nurses base their practice on rehabilitative and
restorative principles by:
- managing complex medical issues
- collaborating with other specialists
- providing ongoing patient/caregiver education
- setting goals for maximal independence
- establishing plans of care to maintain optimal wellness
Rehabilitation nurses practice in all settings:
- freestanding rehabilitation facilities
- hospitals (inpatient rehabilitation units)
- long-term subacute care facilities/skilled nursing facilities
- long-term acute care facilities
- comprehensive outpatient rehab facilities
- private practice
- home healthcare agencies
- clinics and day rehabilitation programs
- community and government agencies
- insurance companies and health maintenance organizations
- schools and universities
Rehabilitation nurses fill many roles across the continuum of care:
- admissions liaison
- case manager
- clinical nurse specialist
- staff nurse