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CRRN Spotlight: Leslie McConnell, RN CRRN


The Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN®) exam is offered twice a year, in June and December, and offers rehab nurses an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to the field through specialty certification. To learn more about the certification process, please visit https://rehabnurse.org/crrn-certification/earn-your-crrn

McConnell takes pride in hobbies, patients' successes, and being a CRRN

"My absolute favorite thing to celebrate at work is when our rehab patients start to regain a function, taking that first step after a stroke, for example. I am almost as excited as the patient-that never gets old! The big smile, the happy tears, the whole thing," said Leslie McConnell, RN CRRN.

For nearly four decades, McConnell has worked at Labette Health, a local hospital in the heart of Southeast Kansas. Since 1984, she has only spent 9 months outside of the hospital when she was with a hospice agency. She started her nursing career in Labette ICU and has held many positions from ICU to Director of the IRU. 

"At the first of my career, I was very excited to save lives. Now, I help restore the patients' living of that life." 

"I changed for different hours, new experiences, physicians moving, and being asked if I would try something new. Different times in life create different needs and interests," said McConnell. When asked about which positions has been her favorite, McConnell chooses them all. In addition to hospital work, she also worked as a volunteer in the community at the Free Health Clinic.

During her career path, McConnell made the decision to become Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) certified. "I decided I wanted to demonstrate my dedication to rehabilitation, so I began to study and prepare for the test. It had been a long while since nursing school, so there was much to review and rehab theories to learn! I can say that the education from that study and taking rehab related CNE has helped me educate my staff and take better care of our patients."

"The CRRN is really a matter of pride for me." 

In addition to being CRRN certified, McConnell has been a dedicated member of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) since 2010. Located in a rural area, McConnell finds the connection of her passion and career through the ARN benefits such as knowledge sharing, the online community (Member Circle), and email communication. "I appreciate the email list serve. I work in a rural area and don't have much contact with other rehab nurses. It's helpful to read what others are doing and to network about rehab issues."

When McConnell is not volunteering or working, she and her husband are Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue volunteers. They enjoy walking their dogs, camping, and being camp hosts. "We were camp hosts at our city lake campground for 7 months a year for 7 years, driving into town for our 'day jobs' and back to the camper at the lake for our camp host job!"

McConnell is also musically included and plays several instruments, including the harp and clarinet in their city band.

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