The Role of the RN in the Rehabilitation Facility Date Abstract The essay aims to identify the role of the registered nurse (RN) in the rehabilitation facility. The Role of the RN in the Rehabilitation Facility Brunner et al…
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Rehabilitation is a complex process aimed towards the achievement of a quality life; thus, providers of care in the rehabilitation facilities (such as the nurse) must be knowledgeable, competent, and skillful in rendering rehabilitative care. Registered nurses play an important role in the rehabilitation facilities and are considered as important members of the rehabilitation team. Often, nurses in the rehabilitation team collaborate with the physicians, psychiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, speech-language therapists, psychologists, spiritual advisors, social workers, vocational councilors, orthotists or prosthetists, and sex councilors. With a number of professionals to which the nurse collaborates, a nurse in the rehabilitation facility must have excellent communication skills and knowledge of each scope of practice. In addition, nurses assume an equal role with other professionals in the rehabilitation process but usually take the most critical roles in the provision of rehabilitative care. Jester (2007) stated that the nurses’ roles in the rehabilitation facilities include three main components, among of which are: general maintenance, specialist, and carry-on role (p. 14-15). The nurse’s role in general maintenance includes overall ward management and maintenance of patient’s physical well-being such as nutrition, hygiene, and skin care. The nurse as a specialist in a rehabilitation facility has an inherent degree of expertise in specific areas of rehabilitation such as orthopedic rehabilitation, geriatric rehabilitation, or substance abuse rehabilitation. Lastly, nurses in the rehabilitation facilities also perform the carry-on-role or the role of the nurse to maintain the progress made by other professionals such as the physician (e.g., the nurse is responsible for monitoring the WBC levels of patients being prescribed with Clozapine). In addition to the performance of carry-on-role is the 24-hour-a-day/7-days-a-week role of the nurse in supervision and continuing practice of what the patients learned from other professionals (Squires & Hastings, 2002, 219). The main goal of rehabilitation is to return the individual to the highest level of independence by maximizing function and minimizing disabilities (Flanagan, Zaretsky & Moroz, 2011, 354). To achieve this goal, nurse rehabilitation professionals are commonly asked to evaluate and participate in the treatment of the patients. Thus, a nurse’s role in the rehabilitation facilities does not only centers on the provision of care but also on engaging to the planning and implementation of rehabilitation programs. The role of the nurse in the nurse in the rehabilitation settings is still underdeveloped and too general to identify by other professional groups, patients, and families. Nurses in the rehabilitation facilities are still struggling to make their roles specific and be recognized. Among the reasons derived from literatures why nurses’ roles in rehabilitation facilities is underdeveloped include lack of specific educational programs for post-registration nurses, organizational difficulties and funding, professional tribalism and turf wars between nurses and therapists, and role confusion (Jester, 2007,16). Nurses have to be competent in order to render an effective rehabilitative care; likewise, the federal government and the organization to which nurses belong also have the responsibility of equipping the nurses with adequate knowledge and skills preparation in the form of
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