Consider A Career As A Rehabilitation Nurse

July 14, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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A rehabilitation nurse is a specialised nursing professional who helps patients suffering from disabling ailments or injuries live relatively normal and independent lives. This may involve working with them to gain abilities that they may have never had or regain abilities that they lost due to the illness or injury. Rehabilitation nurses help patients recognise their abilities and limitations and teach them skills to overcome these obstacles in order to reach their full potential.

Rehab nurses must be consistently encouraging and supportive, helping patients feel empowered to reach seemingly impossible goals.

Because this work involves working with the same patients on a regular basis, you will also get the chance to establish relationships with your patients as well as their families and loved ones. Not only will you be seen as a rehabilitation professional and caregiver, but you’ll also often be thought of as a friend and source of support during tough times.

Student helping examine a patient with doctors during ward rounds, Tanzania. Job Description

Rehab nurses come across patients with several different types of injuries and disabilities. Your main responsibility will be to teach patients how to deal with their particular disability. The exact tasks you may be required to do will depend on your patient’s limitations. Some patients may need to be taught exercises to gain strength in affected limbs and others may need to learn how to use adaptive devices, such as walkers or wheelchairs. Other patients may need to learn or relearn how to walk, talk or write. You will also be responsible for caring for your patients’ physical and emotional needs.

You will also have to act as an educator and supporter, informing patients and their loved ones about certain disabilities and providing support and information on how these disabilities can be overcome.

Patient care plans are a crucial component of rehabilitation and therapy. You will be required to follow your patient care and treatment plans closely. You will also be required to monitor your patients during the entire treatment and therapy process to determine their progress. In some cases, particularly if the patient is making little to no progress, you may be required to help change your patients’ care plans to facilitate quicker or more effective rehabilitation.

Rehab nurses use basic nursing skills everyday during the course of their work. You may be required to administer medication, care for wounds and change dressings and bandages. Although the ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to enable patients to live as independently as possible, in the interim, you may be required to assist patients with everyday tasks such as dressing, eating or bathing.


Rehabilitation nurses are most commonly employed at outpatient rehabilitation centres. Other places that hire rehab nurses are hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, long-term care agencies, home care agencies, and even fitness centres.

Education & Training Requirements

Earning your nursing degree is the first step toward starting your rehabilitation nursing career. You should focus on taking courses in rehabilitation and disabilities during your schooling. To become a registered nurse, you will need to earn at least a bachelor’s degree, while a career as an advanced practice nurse usually requires a master’s degree.

Working as a rehabilitation nurse is one of the most rewarding nursing careers as you often get to witness patients push past their own limits and overcome exceptional odds.