Rehabilitation Nursing


Many professional nurses choose a career as a rehabilitation nurse. In this profession, you will work with chronically ill patients and those with varying degrees of disability. Rehabilitation nursing programs teach you to care for this type of patient. Find out how you can gain this valuable education and work in rewarding specialty.

Education Requirements for Rehabilitation Nursing

Some RNs eventually decide to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to advance their nursing career through additional theoretical rehabilitation concepts. These nursing programs give students an understanding of clinical skills and holistic remedies often used in rehabilitation environments. Rehabilitation nurses are taught techniques to help them care for disabled and chronically ill patients, and they learn strategies to educate both patients and their families.

Master’s degree nursing programs in rehabilitation require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a minimum one year of clinical experience as entrance prerequisites. These programs equip nurses in the rehabilitation field with various methods to help prevent illnesses, manage illnesses/disabilities, promote overall wellbeing, and minimize physical handicaps.

MSN rehabilitation nursing programs pair nursing research seminars with extensive clinical experiences. The majority of Master’s degree programs in this specialty combine core research courses, advanced practice nursing courses, and specialty rehabilitation nursing courses. These classes include principles of rehabilitation nursing, advanced rehabilitation theory, advanced rehabilitation practice, and nursing research, just to name a few.

Rehabilitation Nurse Certification

Rehabilitation nurses can become certificated with the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. This allows the nurse to gain the required “Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse” credential and use the title of “CRRN”. In order to qualify for this designation, you first have to pass a written examination. RNs need two years of experience working in a rehabilitation environment, or you can qualify with one year of work experience and at least one year of post-graduate nursing education (such as a Master’s degree program in advanced practice nursing).

Rehabilitation Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries

Both registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work in rehabilitation settings, gaining on-the-job experience in institutions like rehabilitation hospitals and long-term care facilities. According to the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, the role of rehabilitation nurses is to “help patients with disabilities adapt to their disabilities, achieve their greatest potential and work toward productive, independent lives”.Rehabilitation nursing takes a holistic approach to meeting all of the patient’s needs, including medical, vocational, educational, environmental and spiritual aspects.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) actually groups job opportunities for rehabilitation nurses within the wider category of RNs. In 2010, the BLS indicated that nurses made up in excess of two and one half million job positions across America. According to most web sources, certified rehabilitation nurses earn anywhere from $51,500 to $70,800 per year.

Job Duties of the Rehabilitation Nurse

Providing rehabilitative nursing support services to chronically ill and disabled individuals is a team effort. The goal of the team is to help every patient maintain or improve their quality of life. Rehabilitation nurse are an integral part of this care team that patients and their families greatly rely upon. Job duties include administering therapies, giving medications, assisting with ambulation, charting progress, and patient education.


Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (2013):
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010):

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