Rehab nursing - Yes or No?

  1. Hi I am a new graduate nurse who is actively job searching right now. I've been applying to both hospital positions and to some rehab/LTC facilities. When I was talking to a nurse that I know they said that I should not take a job in a rehab facility if my goal is to do in-patient nursing. Because hospitals don't really like to hire people from rehab facilities for in patient jobs.

    What I would like to know is if that is true or not? If I get a job at a rehab facility will it really deter me from getting a position at an in-patient position later on?

    Thanks!
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    Joined: Oct '18; Posts: 1

    8 Comments

  3. by   Jedrnurse
    It partially depends on the level of rehab acuity. Some rehabs have a LOT of acute care type scenarios, e.g. wound vacs, IVs, TPN, vents etc. Do you know what kind of patients the facilities you've applied to accept?
  4. by   Boog'sCRRN246
    Look for positions on acute inpatient rehab units if you're interested in Rehab nursing. Most are hospital-based, but some are free-standing also. It's the best of both worlds - you deal with acute issues [trachs, TPN, tube feedings, etc], but your pts, for the most part, actually get out of bed and get dressed every day.
  5. by   MikeyT-c-IV
    I have heard in the past, on this website, that some employers do not like to hire nurses who are looking to move from rehab to acute care. In my state, Oklahoma, many hospitals would appreciate any nurse... I frequently check out the various job websites just to see what's out there... So many available jobs. For my personality, I could never work rehab/LTC, just not enough action. In any case, I wish you the best of luck!
  6. by   City-Girl
    Depends on what part of the country you live in and if it is actually a rehab vs LTC. I had a friend who when she graduated she was pretty adamant about getting a hospital job, and avoided rehabs. After 6 months of not getting any calls from the hospital jobs she had a applied for she finally broke down and applied to a rehab and got the job right away. After working 2 years in the rehab, (the facility she was hired at required a 2 year commitment) she made the switch to an ortho unit at a local hospital and got the job right away since they saw her as very qualified since these are many of the patients seen at a rehab. Good luck in your job search!
  7. by   Newgradnurse17
    This is said a lot in nursing/school. But in reality plenty of nurses have gone from Ltc/rehab to inpt hospital nursing. If your happy to work in ltc then go for it. Any experience is better than no experience.
  8. by   WittySarcasm
    I started in a LTC setting, mine had a respiratory unit (where vented patients were there long term) and worked there and the rehab floor. After management changed I moved to the hospital scene, by entering their in patient rehab unit.

    At the LTC you can learn so much, from drawing blood from IVs to starting IVs to changing G-tubes and Foley's and suprapubics, and all the meds you will give. I also changed PICC dressings, flushed IVs and even D/C'd a couple PICCs, one thing about a LTC- if you're the only nurse you get to do all the stuff. I even learned how to do wound vac dressings and was able to fix or change them if the wound nurse wasn't present. What I did was dwell on those facts when I moved to the hospital scene.

    Now on the rehab floor I have gotten to see and do more. Though our patients are supposed to be 'stable' I've hung blood, pushed bolus IVs, start IVs, and other stuff.

    Some skills do lower if you don't use them all the time. But there's no guarantee in the hospital you'll hit every skill. I'd say keep an eye open for SNFs if nothing else comes.
  9. by   JC_NC2019
    While I am just a nursing student, I agree with what the previous posters have said. I have worked for years in many settings as a CNA, and some inpatient rehab/LTAC units can have some patients that are very acute. In my rehab clinical, we had patients with chest tubes, trachs, LVADs, pleural vacs, wound vacs, and IV therapies. We also had a lot of skills like catheters, blood draws, and even the occasional code/rapid response.

    I actually did the in-patient rehab clinical for nursing school after working in the hospital in ICU/Med/Surg settings, and I thought that going to rehab was going to be too slow-paced and lack skills. I was definitely wrong, and I have a huge amount of respect for the rehab nurses that provide support and care throughout the rehab process.

    Don't knock the unit until you have seen it. Many rehab/LTAC units offer a lot of skills with acute patients. Honestly, I occasionally had sicker patients in rehab than I did in my Med/Surg CNA job.

    Whatever you decide, you will make a great nurse! Clearly, you care about your career and want to help others!
  10. by   NurseSince2014
    If you get a job in a rehab/LTC facility, don't avoid it just because you're afraid you won't get a job in a hospital. Plenty of nurses make the move from these facilities to hospitals; I've actually known a couple of them that have successfully done so. Plus, these facilities aren't as lacking in skills as one might think. At our facility, we get IVs, PICC lines, tube feedings, bladder scanning, catheters, ostomies, many wounds in addition to the massive amount of medications we pass. The patients aren't necessarily medically stable, either, so you'll have acute situations that happen. Plus, you have many patients with cognitive/memory issues and a LOT of falls.

    With that said, if you are offered an acute care position I would consider that just because the workload in rehab/LTC is very, very large. During the day, you might have up to 20 patients, and at night, possibly 56 patients. It can be hard for me to keep up and I've had a couple of years of experience. I imagine it's probably overwhelming for the new grads who start and are expected to take a full load almost right away. When I say right away...pretty much after 5 days of orientation, you're expected to be on your own. In a hospital, you'll get at least a few weeks/months of orientation and your patient load won't be so large.


    BUT...if you can't get a hospital job, go ahead and go for rehab/LTC. Whether or not a future employer decides not to hire you is based on personal preference. It is certainly not true that no acute care managers ever hire a nurse with rehab/LTC experience.

    Good luck!

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