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Rehabilitation Nurse Career Guide


Patients with acute and chronic illnesses, injuries, and disabilities are treated by rehabilitation nurses. The primary goal of a rehabilitation nurse is to assist patients in gaining independence and/or assisting families in caring for their loved ones. We'll go over what a Rehabilitation Nurse does, how to become one, how much they make, and more in this guide!

A rehab nurse is a professional who helps people who have chronic diseases or impairments. After a tragedy or an acute sickness, rehabilitation nurses can assist people.

Rehabilitation nurses, according to the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, may help patients with a variety of diseases and disabilities such as: ALS, Amputation, Brain injury, Burns, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Cerebral palsy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Major joint replacements, Multiple sclerosis, Organ transplant, Pulmonary disease, Spinal cord injury and Stroke


Tasks and Responsibilities

Rehab nurses' job tasks differ substantially based on where they work. Rehabilitation nurses, in particular, conduct a range of activities, including:

  • Assisting patients in achieving and maintaining full independence and function

  • Assisting patients in adjusting to a new or different way of life

  • Creating a healing space for patients, their families, and caregivers

  • Patients, families, and caregivers are educated about their condition and treatment options.

  • Keeping track of patients' medical history and vital signs

  • Nursing care plans are created and updated.

  • Changing surgery and/or wound dressings

  • Assessing the patient's degree of independence, damage, or impairment on a regular basis

  • Administering prescription drugs as instructed

  • Providing tracheostomy support

  • Using a gastrostomy tube to provide blood products and enteral feedings

  • Collaborating with other health-care providers

  • Transferring and lifting patients

  • Determining whether a patient can do ADLs independently or with help



The typical pay for a registered nurse in 2019 is $73,300 per year or $35.24 per hour, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although conditions in your region may differ. Although the BLS does not distinguish between different nursing specializations, states that Rehabilitation Nurses earn an annual average pay of $68,142.

Salary According to Experience

Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse salaries as reported on, has been discovered that the average annual pay was $83,694 ($33.13 per hour). Rehabilitation Nurses, in particular, can earn a greater yearly pay as their expertise grows.

  • The average hourly income for those with 1-4 years of experience is $28.13.

  • The average hourly compensation for someone with 5-9 years of experience is $30.49.

  • With 10 to 19 years of experience, the average hourly income is 32.87.

  • With 20 years or more of experience, the average hourly salary is $34.00.


States with Top Paid Rehabilitation Nurse

According to, the top average paid states for Rehabilitation Nurses who have disclosed salary are as follows:

  • $36.49/ hr - Dallas, Texas

  • $35.61/ hr - Seattle, Washington

  • $32.11/hr - Phoenix, Arizona

  • $31.99/hr - Houston, Texas


How to Become a Rehabilitation Nurse

You must complete the following steps to become a Rehabilitation Nurse:

Step1: Attend Nursing School

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN

Step 3: Earn Your Certification. The Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses Certification is offered by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses to qualified nurses. Despite the fact that it is not mandatory, most nurses see certification as a chance to progress their careers.


Work Locations and Benefits

The majority of rehabilitation nurses work in outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Rehabilitation nurses work in a range of settings, including:

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Sub-acute care units

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Hospitals

  • Long term care facilities

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Home care agencies

  • PT/OT offices

  • Fitness facilities

  • Medical offices

  • Insurance companies

  • Community centers

  • Academic settings

  • Government agencies

Full-time and part-time nurses both get equal perks regardless of their employment environment. While real advantages differ by institution, the following are the most common:

  • Health insurance

  • Certification Reimbursement

  • Retirement Options

  • Holiday Pay

  • Family Leave of Absence

  • Maternity Leave

  • Dental Insurance

  • Dependent health insurance coverage

  • Life Insurance

  • Paid time off

  • Relocation assistance

  • Childcare

  • Bereavement leave

  • Vision Insurance

  • Discounts on extracurricular activities

  • Continuing Education Reimbursement

  • Relocation packages

  • Attendance at nursing conferences



According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 3,059,800 Registered Nurses in the United States in 2018. By 2028, an extra 371,500 nurses will be needed, representing a 12 percent increase.


Continuing Education

In most cases, an individual must fill out an application, complete a certain amount of CEU hours, and pay a small cost in order to renew their RN license. Each state has its own standards, so verify with your state's nursing board before filing for a license renewal.

The CEU requirement will be for the state of permanent residence if the RN license is part of a compact nursing license. CEUs in child abuse, opioids, and/or pain treatment are required in several jurisdictions.

Here's a more in-depth look at Continuing Nurse Education hours.

Further Resources

For more information about rehabilitation nursing, check out these other sites!

  • Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

  • American Nurses Association (ANA)

  • The National Rehabilitation Association

  • International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals

  • The National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies

  • American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association

  • American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine



  • What is the role of a rehabilitation nurse?

    • The rehab nurse's duty will differ based on where they work. Some responsibilities will be comparable for inpatient and outpatient rehab nurses, but inpatient nurses will also be accountable for general nursing activities. In order to build complete rehab programs for their patients, rehab nurses collaborate with other healthcare specialists.

  • Is rehabilitation nursing hard?

    • Nursing is a demanding career in general. Nursing is a tough yet rewarding job, regardless of expertise. Because of the patient demographic and demands, rehabilitation nursing might be more physically taxing than other nursing professions.

  • What certification does a rehabilitation nurse need?

    • The Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses Certification is offered by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses to qualified persons.

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