To all Rehab Nurses


I am a new graduate nurse who will be starting my first job in the hospital on a rehab unit. I am very excited, but am curious of many things. So for all you rehab nurses who work in the hospital setting:

what does your day typically include? alot of heavy lifting? how many patients? variety of age, or mostly elders? alot of tube feeds? alot of dressing changes? toileting patients often? hoyers?

ive heard rehab nursing is truly hard work compared to med-surg... and its kind of scaring me. so why is it hard?

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I work on a mixrd floor but typically we have about half rehab pts.Yes I do deal with a lot of dressings and we have the odd tube feed but it doesn't happen all the time.There is some lifting but mostly we use the Hoyer if they are going to hurt our backs.Our rehab program includes getting people used to doing as much of their own ADLs as possible so we get families to bring in clothes.Then we get patients into the habit of getting up and getting dressed each day.Our physiotherapists are on the floor working with the patients practicing transfers and helping them walk with walkers.Getting people in and out of bed,helping people ambulate,dealing with dressings and staples and meds can make for a VERY busy floor.But it rewarding seeing people up walking again after breaking a hip or having a knee replacement.Most of my patients are elderly and we usually have 5-7 pts.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I've worked both subacute rehab in a LTC facility, and acute rehab inside a freestanding rehab hospital.

You'll have in excess of 15 patients if you're doing subacute rehab at a SNF. If it's a freestanding rehab hospital, you might have anywhere from 5 to 10 patients.

We see lots of CVAs, MVAs, and deconditioning after lengthy illnesses (pneumonia, COPD, etc.). We also see lots of postop cases such as knee and hip replacements, CABGs, laminectomies, and bowel resections. The age ranges from late teens to 90s, but the average age tends to be around 60.

Skills include peripheral IVs, PICC lines, central lines, wound care, hanging blood products, operating CPM machines, suture removal, Foleys, drains, respiratory treatments, and other stuff that escapes my mind.