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Gaining any additional education can assist you in making strides in your career. This year, we’ll be focusing on various certifications to let you know what you need to do to attain them, what they mean, and how they can help.

Patricia A. Mucia, BSN, RN, CRRN, CCM works at Shriners Hospitals for Children—Chicago and is the Current President of the Northern Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. She answered questions for us about becoming a certified rehabilitation registered nurse (CRRN).

What does it mean to be a certified rehabilitation nurse?  

Certification in rehabilitation nursing validates professional standing as an experienced rehabilitation nurse. It means you are an expert in the field and your knowledge has been verified. It also means you keep current with evidence-based practice specific to the needs of the rehab patient.

What additional training does a nurse have to have to be classified as such?

To sit for the exam, you must have:

  • Two years of practice as a registered professional nurse in rehabilitation nursing within the last five years, or
  • One year of practice as a registered professional nurse in rehabilitation nursing and one year of advanced study (beyond baccalaureate) in nursing within the last 5 years.

What additional skills do CRRNs have?

It is not as much about skills as it is a competency level and knowledge base specific to the care of patients after a disabling event or chronic illness. Rehabilitation is philosophy of care, not a work setting or phase of treatment.

What kinds of things can CRRNs do that RNs can’t?

They are empowered to give care based on a higher base of knowledge in the field. They establish themselves within a group of nurses who have specialized expertise and experience. They are part of a network of nurses as members of the Association of Rehab Nurses.

Why is it important to have this certification when working at Shriners Hospitals for Children?

It is important for our hospital to be competitive with other rehab facilities. Patients and families are making choices about health care. Having nurses that are certified in rehab (CRRN) defines the level of expertise of our patient care delivery.

If a nurse wants to become a certified rehabilitation nurse, what kinds of training would you suggest that s/he gets?

Experience in the field is a requirement for certification. Take advantage of all continuing education opportunities.

Why do you like being a certified rehabilitation nurse?

I love being a CRRN! I have collaborated with nurses in my community and throughout the country. I have attended, presented posters, and spoken at the annual education conference. I have learned so much at these events and met the best people.

I have been a board member of NIARN since 2013. Our Chapter has planned and presented local seminars for rehabilitation nurses.

When did you decide to become one?

In 2005. I have worked with children with spinal cord injuries for many years, and I feel so privileged to be a part of their recovery and ongoing care.

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Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

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