Rehabilitation nursing, a relatively new nursing specialty, involves working with patients after illness or injury to help them achieve the best outcome in terms of function, independence, and health. Rehabilitation nurses work with patients of all ages that have a variety of illnesses and injuries, in hospitals, homes, and every setting in between. Cardiac, spinal injuries, mental health, stroke, drugs and alcohol, amputation, workplace, and sports rehabilitation are just some of the areas of specialty within the field of rehabilitation nursing.
Rehabilitation nursing focuses on the patient and his/her goals for recovery, while many other areas may be directed more toward finding cures or managing acute conditions. With rehabilitation nursing, the emphasis is placed on patients’ goals and journey, from depending on others to care for them through the ability to care for themselves again, living as independently as possible. Not only does rehabilitation nursing stress patient support, both emotional and physical, but education is also a large part of the process. Rehabilitation nurses practice new skills with their patients, as well as give them information to help them retrieve and sustain their health.
Nurses in this field must have excellent listening skills, be empathetic, and have a high desire for involvement with patients. In addition, rehabilitation nurses have to be good counselors and even better problem-solving skills, because creativity is required to find inventive ways to enable patients to reach their objective. Rehabilitation nurses work interdependently with a variety of other health professionals — occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and physiotherapists — and are often the team’s coordinators, acting as a central point for decision making and communicating.
Essentially, rehabilitation nursing focuses on enhancing the function of the unaffected and affected systems, while facilitating adaptation and preventing other disabilities. It relies on scientific knowledge and sound theoretic foundations in order to work with clients and their families.
To become involved in rehabilitation nursing, you will need an advanced nursing degree. The University of Phoenix offers the following online nursing degree programs:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Master of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Or see online LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, or general nursing programs