A nurse can work in a variety of environments, ranging from a doctor’s office to an intensive care unit. The common denominator in every environment is that nurses support physicians, perform treatments, provide patient education and monitor the condition of patients suffering from various medical conditions.

So how is rehabilitation nursing different?

Rehabilitation nursing is a specialization focused on helping individuals with a disability or chronic illness reach their functional goals, such as ambulation, activities of daily living and improved speech. In this environment, nurses and therapists work closely together to promote independence and help patients function to their maximum ability. The end goal is to help patients go back to the community.

Rehabilitation nursing can be very rewarding. Being part of an integrated care team helping patients improve their conditions and function provides benefits that go far beyond a paycheck.

In this care environment, you can:

  • Get to know your patients over a few weeks and aligning care to their psychosocial needs
  • Have the support of a strong interdisciplinary approach to care
  • Customize care plans based on the patients’ unique goals and their therapy and nursing needs
  • See approximately 80-85% of your patients go back to the community instead of another healthcare facility or long-term care unit
  • Become a specialized nurse through programs like the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN®)
  • Work in specialty hospitals accredited by The Joint Commission, many of which have achieved disease-specific care certifications

To learn more about the rewards of working in rehabilitation nursing, check out this video for a behind the scenes look into Encompass Health nursing roles.

Rehabilitation nursing as a career

Inpatient rehabilitation nurses can branch out into many different areas based on their career interests. At Encompass Health, our nurses can specialize with the CRRN certification, advance into supervision or move into positions such as wound care coordinator, charge nurse, infection preventionist, hospital educator, patient assessment standards coordinator, quality/risk coordinator, case manager or rehab liaison. Our nurses can also grow through cross-training, involvement in team initiatives and by becoming a preceptor for our newly hired nurses.

Marcin’s story

One nurse who has embraced this career mobility is Marcin Andruczyk , a nurse manager at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, Florida. Here is his story:

Six years ago, I interviewed for the staff nurse position. I came from the nursing home environment with one and a half years of experience, and I wanted more acute care experience. I actually worked two jobs for a while, the other one being at a different acute setting, because I wanted to learn everything I could. In the end, I chose to focus on rehabilitation nursing, and I know I am at the right place.

The reason I chose rehabilitation nursing is that I get to see the patients’ progress over 10-14 days and I can provide education that will help long-term. I also get to form a relationship with the patient and their family, which you do not see much in the acute care hospital. It is also different from the nursing home environment, since the quality of care I get to provide is higher and I do not have nearly as many patients, which allows me to spend more time with them. It is very rewarding to see a patient come in and know you get to make a difference in their lives. 

After four and a half years working as a registered nurse with our company, my nurse supervisor saw some potential in me and asked if I would like to do the nurse supervisor role, and we would start training me as relief. At first, I was not convinced since I was happy as a staff nurse. I thought about it and then decided to step up and do something different. My training supervisor was impressed with how fast I learned the role, and I was able to start relief duties quickly. 

After a few months at relief, the nurse manager position opened up at my hospital and the CNO asked if I would be interested. I feel like the ideal timing would have been in a year or two, but I thought, “I have nothing to lose, and it may not be open in a year or two,” so I applied. I interviewed and got the promotion last October. I am glad I went for it; I enjoy my job every day. I get to see the bigger picture and help both patients and employees. I get to make a bigger difference.

My advice to nurses considering a career with Encompass Health is this: If you really want to make a difference and provide quality care, this is the place to be. I love our company!

Want to learn more?

To learn more about nursing career opportunities at Encompass Health, we invite you to stay in touch with us by joining our talent community so a member of our recruitment team can email you with more information.

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