The rehabilitation nurse is a nurse who specializes in helping people with disabilities and chronic illness attain optimal function, health, and adapt to an altered lifestyle. Rehabilitation nurses assist patients in their move toward independence by setting realistic goals and treatment plans. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team and often coordinate patient care and team activities.
Rehabilitation nurses may practice in a variety of settings, including:
Inpatient rehabilitation centers
Outpatient rehabilitation centers
Long-term care facilities
Community and home health settings
Industrial health centers
Rehabilitation nurses provide care that helps to restore and maintain function, and prevent complications. They also provide patient and family education, counseling, and case management. Rehabilitation nurses serve as patient and family advocates and can also participate in research that helps improve the practice of rehabilitation.
Registered nurses who specialize in rehabilitation are often certified by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.