National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6th through May 12th For the past 27 years, the American Nurses Association has set aside this week—which ends, appropriately, on Florence Nightingale’s birthday—to honor nurses and recognize the vital work they do.
At Burke, the nursing team is an integral part of the rehabilitation process. Our team is made up of 86 nurses who are caregivers, in addition to those who work as managers, supervisors and in Burke’s screening and admitting department.
“The rehabilitation nurse, easily accessible to individuals, families, team members and other concerned parties—and by virtue of specialized education, expertise and interest in caring for individuals with chronic illness and disabilities—is considered the most qualified team leader and a key partner in a successful rehabilitation program,” says Marie Spencer, RN, PhD, CRRN, Vice President of Nursing and the Chief Nursing Officer at Burke.
As we celebrate this year’s National Nurses Week, here’s a bit more about the role that Burke’s nurses play in the rehabilitation process:
Many are specially-certified. Nearly half of the nurses at Burke are CRRN certified. CRRN stands for Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse and is a special certification given to those nurses who have worked in a rehab setting and take a credentialing exam. “Nurses who achieve the CRRN demonstrate knowledge, experience and commitment to excellence in comprehensive care for people with physical disabilities and chronic illnesses in all specialties and settings of rehabilitation,” according to the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. Burke is committed to helping the nursing staff become CRRN certified by regularly holding CRRN exam review courses on campus. (If you’re interested in the review course, keep an eye on Burke’s events calendar for the next date.)
They serve as a care coordinators. “The function and role of team leader and care coordinator is reflected throughout all activities of the rehabilitation nurse,” says Spencer. Rehabilitation nurses work directly with the rehabilitation team—from physicians and therapists to patients and their caregivers—helping to work together, navigate problems that may arise and, ultimately, to help patients achieve their fullest possible recovery. Plus, says Spencer: “Rehabilitation nurses are particularly skilled at working with others to adapt ongoing care to the constant changes in healthcare and to resources available to achieve timely outcomes.”
They see first-hand the difference rehabilitation makes in a patient’s recovery. While nurses in a more traditional hospital setting may only see patients during a part of the patient’s journey—and not know how their story progresses— rehab nurses are often able to see patients throughout their recovery and see firsthand the remarkable strides many make. “Rehab nursing is a continuum of care,” says Spencer. “We often have patients come to Burke unable to do the simplest task. Because of our length of stay, we have the advantage of actually seeing the difference that rehabilitation can make in their lives.”
They embody the theme of this year’s nurses week, “Nurses: Inspire, Influence, Innovate.” “The Burke nursing staff inspires our patient and families through their caring and understanding of each patient’s disease process. With greater understanding of the physiological and psychological changes the patient is experiencing, our nursing staff can guide them through the healing and recovery phases,” says Spencer. Their influence can be felt thanks to their excellent communication skills, which enables the nursing team to anticipate what the patient needs, and help them find the necessary resources, such as education or emotional support, says Spencer. And as for innovation? “They are always thinking of new and creative ideas to deliver the best patient care, they are constantly learning about anything and everything to enhance the patient experience, they support each other and share their expertise, and finally, they continue to strive to be the best rehab nurses in the nation,” says Spencer.