How to Become a Rehab Nurse

How to Become a Rehab Nurse

Rehabilitation is an essential practice in the medical field that focuses on helping patients recover from temporary and permanent physical and mental disabilities. Rehab nurses are registered nurses that specialize in helping patients recover from a variety of injuries, conditions, and diseases.

What does a rehab nurse do?

Rehab nurses provide care to patients suffering from chronic illnesses, debilitating injuries, and other conditions. They care for patients who have suffered from a stroke, traumatic accident, paralyzing injury, and spinal disease. They help patients transition back into their daily activities and lead active and independent lives. They develop individual care plans that set rehabilitative goals and ways to achieve those goals. They provide the necessary support throughout treatment and follow-up care to ensure the patient reaches their full recovery potential. Rehab nurses also provide education to patients, families, and caregivers regarding restorative care and maintenance of health.

What kind of training does a rehab nurse need?

Rehab nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree program in nursing. All nursing programs provide intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and supervised clinical experiences. Many nurses complete internships to gain practical experience. All registered nurses must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Many rehab nurses gain professional the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) designation from the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board. The certification requirements include at least 2 years clinical experience and passing a written examination. Rehab nurses must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications and stay current with the advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a rehab nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 22% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for rehabilitation care will drive job growth for rehab nurses.

Job prospects are expected to be excellent especially for rehab nurses with extensive experience. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace rehab nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do rehab nurses make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for rehab nurses is $52,000; average annual rehab nurse salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a rehab nurse is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to patients to enable them to physically and mentally recover from a variety of conditions. Rehab nurses must have a solid understanding of many different disabling conditions and the different treatment options. Patience, compassion, motivation, critical thinking, and good problem solving are essential characteristics. Rehab nurses must have excellent communication and the ability to work with a variety of patients and other healthcare professionals. They must also be able to think of inventive ways to help patients achieve their goals.

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