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The Certified Registered Rehabilitation Nurse (CRRN®) exam is offered twice a year, in June and December, and offers rehab nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to the field through specialty certification.

ARN asked Patty Hendrick, RN BSN CRRN CCM CLLCP CNLCP CADDCT, to answer a few questions about her experience working in the rehabilitation nursing field and being a CRRN.

"My first certification was my CRRN, and it has opened many doors for me. It helped me obtain my first job working outside of the hospital setting as a nurse case manager. Since then, I have traveled internationally as a speaker and nurse consultant, started my own company, and I use my CRRN skills every day. I highly recommend obtaining your CRRN. It changed the course of my career."

What is your favorite part of working in the rehabilitation nursing field?

The collaboration with a wide range of disciplines to develop a comprehensive treatment and care plan. We would have weekly team conferences to discuss all aspects of care, discharge plans, family support, etc. and discuss ways to maximize our patient's time in rehabilitation.

What do you find most challenging about being a rehabilitation nurse?

We can only help so much. People must be willing to help themselves. It is hard when your patient knows what they are supposed to do, but chooses not to, and then you see the consequences. For example, they get sicker, lose their mobility, or have side effects from uncontrolled blood sugars, etc. And then you see the regret, which for me, is the hardest.

How does your CRRN certification play into your daily practice, if at all, and how you deliver patient care?

For me, everyday is different. I could be in the home completing a home assessment, at a doctor's appointment with my client, reviewing medical records, ordering supplies and equipment, testifying in court or advocating for supplies or services. Boredom is not in my vocabulary.

How do you think becoming CRRN certified has impacted your career?

Where do I begin? It was the linchpin that started me on constantly learning and evolving my nursing career. By obtaining my CRRN it opened doors for me to use my nursing skills from bedside to courtroom and provided me the opportunity to travel internationally as a nurse consultant.

What advice would you pass onto someone who is preparing to sit for the CRRN exam?

Rehabilitation nurses work in a variety of settings, with emphasis on different skill sets depending on where you work. For example, direct patient care, care/case managers, life care planners, educators, community and home health facilities to name a few. I highly recommend taking a review course and learning about the rehab nurses' role and function both within and outside the hospital setting.

The deadline to apply to sit for the December 2021 exam is November 1.

When you earn your CRRN, you validate your professional standing as an experienced rehabilitation nurse with a documented level of knowledge and your commitment to patient care. Join Patricia and more than 13,000 other rehabilitation nursing professionals by taking this next step in your career. Steps to certification >

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