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A Sacred Space: ARN Member Jennifer Riccobono-Nichols Reflects on the Patient Rehabilitation Journey

Thank you to ARN member Jennifer Riccobono-Nichols, BSN RN PHN CRRN, for sharing this powerful reflection. Jennifer is a proud rehabilitation nurse who currently works in Monterey, California - at the William R. Lewis, MD Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit - Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. ARN members can connect with Jennifer in Member Circle.

A Sacred Space

The space that rehabilitation takes in healthcare is a sacred space. The patient's space is of vulnerability, self-examination, reflection, and rumination. Trauma has occurred. It does not matter if the patient was in a motor vehicle accident, had a stroke, or underwent a planned spinal fusion… the patient's life and understanding of themselves in this world was different prior to their personal trauma; prior to rehabilitation. Now, they are vulnerable. They are not the same. They may not move the same way. They may not think the same way. They may not speak or communicate like they did prior to this traumatic life change. They may not look the same. For now, they are a new unrecognizable version of themselves. The sacred space of rehabilitation occurs when the patient accepts the trauma and acknowledges the physical, psychological, and spiritual transformation that occurs post trauma. From this point, they must allow themselves to relinquish control and reveal their vulnerability. The patient must surrender, expose their new fears and weaknesses, and accept support from those healthcare professionals whom standby, like strong pillars of support, ready to take part in a metamorphosis… ready to begin the rehabilitation journey. The journey is arduous and extensive, but the destination is where we rise… we overcome, and a rebirth occurs. 

ARN welcomes content submissions from its members. Submit your news and reflection items at rehabnurse.org/pulse-submission.

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