What does a rehab nurse do?? New hired rehab RN here.

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    Hi nurses,

    I'm a new grad that got hired as a new Rehab RN at a hospital. The unit seems to get a lot of ortho and stroke patients with many physical and occupational therapists involved.

    I don't know much about rehab nursing. I originally wanted medsurg, but the job market is still pretty bad. What are some of the things rehab nurses do?? What labs and drugs should I review before starting work, and what skills?? Is there a lot of lifting involved ? I heard the nurses need to know FIM assessments, what is that? I'd appreciate any information!!!
  2. 8 Comments so far...

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    FIM is like MDS in long term care, billing justification. Rehab nursing is different shift to shift. Day shift there are all of the PT OT SPL folks around. Second and third shift is crazy with lifting, transfers, toileting, fall risks etc. Lots of strokes, CABG, multiple traumas, fewer knees and hips lately. Labs; BMP, CBC-d, CK, troponin, UA/C&S, ob stool, stool for C-DIFF, lots of iv abx, coumadin, heparin, blood, albumin. Wound dressing changes, Central line dressing changes, g-tubes, foley caths, straight caths, supra-pubic caths bladder scanning. It is a crazy place to work, tough on the body with all of the lifting. Good luck on your first job.
    tokidoki7, Selene006, JerseyLilly, and 1 other like this.
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    Thanks Maura!
    I will definitely review those things that you mentioned. I'll be making myself a study guide based on some of what you mentioned. I'm really nervous! Yes, someone else mentioned that knee and hip replacements are more frequent in the fall/winter.
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    Does BMP stand for basic metabolic profile which includes lab results for glucose, BUN, electrolytes, etc...?
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    Quote from NurseCinderella
    Does BMP stand for basic metabolic profile which includes lab results for glucose, BUN, electrolytes, etc...?
    Yes. A basic metabolic panel is abbreviated with the initials BMP.
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    Sorry I have not checked this post in a few days, been working 7p-7a non-stop. Your employer will likely send you to FIM class, don't worry about it yet. There are cycles in acute rehab inpatient units; it is med/surg mayhem. If you do well in rehab, med surg won't be difficult to transition to. We get our patients right out of ICU. Lots of major strokes lately. Brush up on CVA's hemiparesis, aphasia and the like. Ortho stuff, traumatic amputations, ORIF's, laminectomies have been popular this month. I have been queen of the straight-caths in the past few weeks, I don't know why so many pts are retaining, but they are. We also get lots of pts on tele monitors and heparin drips, so brush up on basic cardiac strips; NSR, PVC's, A-Fib and how to determine QRS, and HR. I will chime in again after I take the dreaded FIM class, I have been avoiding it for too long.
    tokidoki7 likes this.
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    Hi Maura,
    That is fabulous, thank you again. I believe your unit is more critical than the patients I will be taking care of. I don't think any of them come from ICU at all. They will be coming from the ortho and medsurg units, and I wont' be dealing with many IV's either, regretably. I would love to learn more skills, but I'm so greatful to find an RN job, even if there aren't as many hands-on skills. I am sure there will be other skills I can work with. I don't think I'll be going to a FIM class.. I would love to hear more about what you know and do! Thank you so much!
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    rehabnurse.org has a great description of what a staff nurse does
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    rehab is all about providing care with a goal in mind to get the patient to their highest level of functionality, (be that how they were prior to be hospitalized, or coping + adapting to their current situation if unable to function as how they did before) which is not just pt/ots job. we need to maximize their abilities by using their strengths + trying to help them catch up with their weaknesses. at my rehab we do alot of central line dressing changes/lab draws, wound care, assistance w/ prosthetic care or assistive devices, assistance w/ adl's, peg care, foley or rectal tube care, on nightshift we give the breathing tx's, blood transfusions, iv therapy, managing pain, and lots + lots of education. i know there is more but i think this is good for starters! hope it helps!


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