Rehab Nurse Job Profile

A rehabilitation nurse, or rehab nurse, is a healthcare professional who specifically deals with patients seeking rehabilitation therapies. Rehab nurses take care of patients who have suffered extreme mental or physical trauma due to an accident, prolonged illness, addiction, mental breakdown or similar situations. The patients need to undergo a series of rehabilitation therapies to lead a normal life.

In order to become a rehab nurse, you will need to complete specific courses and certifications. The most basic is a nursing degree. Focusing on the rehabilitation subjects while in school can prove to be helpful with your career later. You will need to pass the NCLEX - RN examination to become a Registered Nurse, or RN. After this, complete the associate's degree in Specialty Training in Rehabilitation Care. One of most widely accepted certification program for a rehab nurse is the Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN).

Daily Tasks

  • Cleaning the wounds of the injured patients.
  • Helping the patients in their daily life routines.
  • Following medical care procedures like administering medicines or assisting them with physiotherapy as per the physician's advice.
  • Monitoring the vital signals of patients.
  • Coordinate with the attending physician to improvise current medications and therapies.
  • Educate, empower and counsel the patients on their disabilities and ways to cope with them.
  • Training them to use life support systems like wheel chair, prosthetic limbs or other supportive devices.
  • Educate patients and family members or care takers about prevention, nutrition changes, rest and emotional support.

Work Nature and Schedules

A rehab nurse generally works in hospital, rehabilitation care center, nursing home, home care facility and other non-profit organizations with rehabilitation facilities. This job is demands mental acuity and strength. The job also demands physical strength because nurses have to lift and assist the patients with physical disabilities. They are also expected to stand for long hours.

The work hours of a nurse can be long and will vary, depending on need. Many hospitals have 12 hour long shifts and nurses are sometimes asked to do stay overtime. Dedication is the key factor because nurses work hard to improve the lives of their patients.


According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual average salary of a rehab nurse is somewhere near $58,000. The typical range is from $47,710 to $69,850.

Career Advancement

With sufficient amount of experience in this field, a nurse can advance to the position of Head Nurse of the rehabilitation team, Researcher, Administrators and Educators. Rehabilitation centers offer different rehabilitation therapies to different kind of patients. The three most common are Physical Therapy, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation and Psychological Rehabilitation. Rehab nurses usually specialize in one type of job. For example, a drug and alcohol rehab nurse will work with patients who are trying to overcome drug or alcohol dependency. This is achieved through a series of detoxification programs.