Ok, this is a bit of a rant, and I'm not sure how many rehab nurses actually read this forum (the thread count appears to be a little low), but here goes...
First, a little background...
When I first became a nurse, I did what I guess you could call my "stint in med-surg." This is what I was told I should do fresh out of school, to get the meat and potatoes of nursing under my belt. My first job was working on a pedi/adult med-surg floor. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it, with all the bubbling enthusiasm of a new grad and the belief that "Finally, I am doing what I was meant to do."
Then, a job opportunity opened on the rehab unit of my hospital. I was working part-time on the pedi floor and was looking to increase my hours (hubby and I were house-hunting at the time and I needed a little boost in the paycheck department), and this rehab position offered that.
I checked it out, talked to a bunch of the nurses who worked on that floor, and decided to switch jobs. It seemed like a fun floor, with great camaraderie among the staff, a fabulously supportive DON, and patients that eventually (for the most part) "got better and went home."
After working there for almost 2 years, I can honestly say that I love it. Not only do I adore the folks I work with, but more importantly it's such a rewarding feeling to admit someone who can barely do for him/herself and watch that soul go home a week or two or whatever later with greatly increased strength and mobility and often a new outlook on life. My unit census runs the gamut from fresh ortho post-ops to cardiac "OMG I thought I was a dead man" s/p MIs; those not sick enough to need acute care, but not quite well enough to go home.
Now, here's the rant part.
I was speaking with one of my husband's relatives not too terribly long ago who, when she found out I was an RN, asked me "what sort of nursing" I did. When I said I worked on a rehab floor, she seemed to lose interest and dismissed me with a "Oh, so you just give out pain pills."
I was more than a little offended by that. After running several scathing retorts through my head in the nanoseconds after she uttered that, I finally settled on a stiff, "Well no, I do considerably more than just 'give out pain pills.'"
Any of you ever get this??? Is that the general view of rehab nurses? That we just pass out pills and pillows?? Granted, I no longer face the constant hustle and bustle and chaos I once did as a med-surg RN, but still. What the heck??