After a traumatic accident or illness, many patients become permanently or temporarily disabled. A rehabilitation nurse helps disabled people recover and restructure in order to live active lives with as much independence as possible.
Rehabilitation nurses often work with patients in wheelchairs or other assistance devices. These patients are often also dealing with the emotional repercussions of their situations. A rehabilitation nurse must be physically resilient, empathetic, and patient in order to handle the unique demands of this job.
Jobs for rehabilitation nurses can be found in a variety of healthcare facilities, schools, specialty hospitals, home health care agencies, private doctor’s practices, clinics, and more. Rehabilitation nurses may work as case managers, researchers, educators, or administrators. They are tasked with establishing health care plans that prescribe specific health care goals for their patients. In this capacity, they also work with specialists and discuss the conditions of their patients. They also teach patients, families, and caregivers how to offer care that will restore patients, getting them out of health care facilities and back to some level of independence and normal life.
As with most RN jobs, the rehabilitation nurse career field is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. The average annual salary for a rehabilitation nurse in mid-career is $70,000. In order to become a rehabilitation nurse, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as your RN licensing. Rehabilitation nurses are not required to obtain specialized certification, but passing the Rehabilitation Registered Nurse certification exam will definitely provide a competitive edge in the job market. Nurses who obtain master’s degrees can qualify for positions with better pay and more responsibility, such as clinical nurse specialist or nursing director.