Rehabilitation Nurse Practitioner?

  1. 0
    Hi! I am currently an undergrad student (Nutrition major) and I am seriously considering enrolling in an accelerated bsn program after I graduate. However, physical rehabiliation is my passion and I am really torn between pursuing physical therapy or rehabilitation nursing as my final career choice. Physical therapy would honestly be my first choice but frankly I can't afford to be in school for another 3 years (and withstand the huge amount of debt that comes with it). I became interested in rehabilitation nursing when I shadowed a physical therapist at a Healthsouth clinic and I really enjoyed the way the physical therapists, the occupational therapists, and the rehab nurses collaborated. What I am most likely going to do is become a registered nurse now and then go to physical therapy school years later, but I would still have the same issue of being out of the workforce for 3 years and having to pay a ridiculous amount of tuition. Which brings me back to my original topic; is there such thing as a nurse practitioner in a rehabilitation setting? I have heard about the opportunity of still being able to work as a registered nurse while pursuing the nurse practitioner education and this convenience would be optimal.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I used to work in inpatient rehab and I saw no advanced practice nurses there, but maybe that was just my hospital. However, the rehab docs did have PAs that worked with them. That's a slightly different pathway than you're talking about, but just something to think about.
  5. 0
    I'm in the same boat as you. My undergrad is in exercise physiology and physical rehab is my passion. The only department I've found is cardiac rehab. Great great dept.
  6. 0
    I've been working in a freestanding acute rehabilitation hospital for the past three years and have never seen a nurse practitioner in the building. One of the internal medicine groups used to send a PA to the facility to write orders, but I have not seen any nurse practitioners in acute rehab.

    Now, nursing home rehabilitation is another story. The vast majority of the nursing homes in my area have rehabilitation departments fully staffed with PT, OT and ST. Many of the attending physicians send FNPs (family nurse practitioners) and GNPs (geriatric nurse practitioners) to the nursing home rehab centers to assess patients and write orders.
  7. 0
    There are rehab NPs working in some intrathecal baclofen pump clinics. If the team collaboration is what appeals to you, than a masters degree in rehabilitation sciences might be more suitable than nurse practioner. The rehab science programs accept professionals from a variety of disciplines such as; physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, kinesiology, prosthetics and nursing.
  8. 0
    We have a PA who works with the physiatrist on our rehab.....perhaps in this kind of capacity, you could.
  9. 0
    TheCommuter is right!!

    Please note... CMS requires (as of 2010 regs) that the PM&R trained physician round on the patient 3xweekly minimum. IF the physicians there want to use an NP, that's all fine and dandy... I would expect that varies from one provider to another, but it does not replace the physician notes - we've had those dreaded RAC audits to prove it. CMS seems to be trying to get physician extenders OUT of IRF settings everywhere.

    That said... I'd encourage you toward PT... IRF is the only environment that I know in healthcare where nursing is so casually disregarded by other professions. Instead of balance, we've achieved only a pendulum swing.
  10. 0
    To answer the OP's question, yes, there is a such thing as a nurse practitioner working in rehabilitation. I worked in a HealthSouth that had a full time NP on site Mon-Fri 8a-5p. She worked with a team of rehab docs. She saw the patients daily, ordered labs, & wrote orders. We were glad to have her. She knew her patients well & provided excellent care.


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