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Rehabilitation Nursing Essentials

Learn the foundational knowledge needed for rehabilitation nursing practice.

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About this Certificate Program

Rehabilitation nursing is a unique specialty practice with its own core knowledge and standards of practice. This MedBridge certificate will provide essential information on the principles of rehabilitation nursing, working with the interprofessional team, neuroanatomy, functional assessment with principles of mobility, education, cultural sensitivity, post-acute setting regulations, safe transitions of care, and ethics. Participants will enhance their rehabilitation nursing skills as they engage with these foundational courses for the specialty.

Target Audience

Nurses new to rehabilitation nursing; nurses in orientation for a new job in rehabilitation nursing in any setting; any new nurses who care for patients with: brain injury, spinal cord injury, neurological disorders, and/or orthopedic problems; restorative nurses in long-term care; nurses without prior rehabilitation training who are working in: acute rehabilitation hospital units, post-acute rehabilitation settings such as SNFs, nursing homes, home health, case management, care coordination, and restorative nursing.

Goals & Objectives

  • Demonstrate understanding of basic rehabilitation nursing principles.
  • Recognize how to best collaborate with the interprofessional team to enhance patient outcomes.
  • Understand basic neuroanatomy to promote ethical patient care for rehabilitation clients.
  • Apply evidence-based skills for functional assessment and mobility.
  • Synthesize course materials to plan culturally sensitive care for persons requiring rehabilitation across various settings while assuring safe care transitions.

What's Included in the Certificate Program

Accredited Online Courses*

11 hours of online video lectures and patient demonstrations.

Case Study Interviews

Recorded Q&A sessions between instructors and practice managers.

Interactive Learning Assessments

Case-based quizzes to evaluate and improve clinical reasoning.

Section 1: Introduction to Rehabilitation

2 Chapters

Introduction to Rehabilitation Nursingkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Disability and Rehabilitation NursingChapter 1

    Understanding disability and how the philosophy of rehabilitation nursing can be integrated into practice is used to promote quality nursing care. This chapter covers the philosophy of rehabilitation nursing as an approach to patient- and family-centered care. The International Classification of Function (ICF) will also be discussed.

  • What Is a Rehabilitation Nurse?Chapter 2

    In this chapter, rehabilitation nurses will master the core competencies of this specialty practice. This chapter briefly reviews the Rehabilitation Nursing Competency Model, with an emphasis on the beginner level competencies.

  • The Impact of Rehabilitation Nursing Across the Care ContinuumChapter 3

    The philosophy of rehabilitation nursing can be applied across settings to promote holistic patient/client/family care. The benefit of applying rehabilitation nursing concepts across environments to the patient, family, and community will be explored.

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The Interprofessional Rehabilitation Teamkeyboard_arrow_down


Section 2: Neuroanatomy

2 Chapters

Neuroanatomy Part 1: The Brainkeyboard_arrow_down


Neuroanatomy Part 2: The Spinal Cordkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Introduction to Neuroanatomy of the SpineChapter 1

    The spinal or vertebral column is a flexible bony structure that supports and protects the spinal cord. This chapter will present an overview of the importance of proper alignment of the spine as it connects to ligaments and tendons along with housing the spinal cord and nerve root openings to innervate muscles and internal organs.

  • Structural and Functional Neuroanatomy of the Spinal CordChapter 2

    As the second major organ in the central nervous system (CNS), the spinal cord, or medulla spinalis, connects the brain to the rest of the body. It is important for clinicians to understand how the spinal cord assists the brain with optimal body function and movement. Discussion of each of the four main spinal cord regions, with associated anterior and posterior spinal nerve root function, along with upper and lower motor neuron pathways, will be presented.

  • Peripheral Nervous System: Somatic and Autonomic BranchesChapter 3

    The spinal cord nerve root pathways relay messages (outside the brain and spinal cord) to organs and the periphery of the body through what is called the peripheral nervous system (PNS). This system houses both voluntary (somatic) and involuntary (autonomic) system branches. It is important for clinicians to understand normal pathophysiology of both to understand how organs act in times of stress or rest. This chapter will review the twelve cranial nerves and thirty-one pairs of spinal cord nerves within the PNS, along with related functions, both voluntary and involuntary, within the human body.

  • Performing a Neurological Assessment to Check Spinal Cord Function: Dermatomes, Myotomes, and ReflexesChapter 4

    Normal nerve impulse control and innervation is important for healthy function of the spinal cord and brain. The treating clinician must have a good understanding of the components of a comprehensive neurofunctional examination to determine this status for a patient. In addition to determining level of consciousness and verbal responses, the clinician must be able to demonstrate how to evaluate motor responses such as muscle strength, muscle tone, posture, reflexes, movement, sensation, and coordination. This chapter will present a quick overview of how to perform a simple motor and sensory examination to determine optimal spinal cord function.

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Section 3: Mobility and Function

2 Chapters

Principles of Mobility and Function for Rehabilitation Professionalskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Principles of Posture and Body MechanicsChapter 1

    This chapter will discuss principles of body mechanics. Use of proper body mechanics during lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling will be discussed and demonstrated with a focus on safety of the patient and caregiver.

  • Bed Mobility and TransfersChapter 2

    This chapter will discuss how to transfer patients of varying levels of functional mobility. Instruction on how to properly set up the patient and guard them for safety during the transfer will be discussed and demonstrated.

  • AmbulationChapter 3

    This chapter will discuss how to safely ambulate patients of varying levels of functional mobility. A review of commonly used ambulation aids and their applications will be discussed and demonstrated.

  • Functional ScalesChapter 4

    This chapter will review functional scales that are commonly used in rehabilitation settings. The Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Barthel Index, and Katz Index will be discussed. Scoring and standard interpretation of these tests will be reviewed.

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Functional Scales and Tools for Rehabilitationkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Measuring FunctionChapter 1

    Rehabilitation providers who understand the various tools and scales to measure function can conduct more accurate assessments. Common tools used in the various post-acute care settings will be described. The importance of accurately measuring function in post-acute care delivery to detect improvement as a result of rehabilitation care will be discussed.

  • Common Functional Assessment MeasuresChapter 2

    Rehabilitation providers need to understand scales used to measure function in rehabilitation patients. Choosing the most appropriate tool is a learned skill. This chapter briefly reviews common functional assessment tools used with rehabilitation patients.

  • The Continuity Assessment Record and Evaluation (CARE) ToolChapter 3

    Functional items from the CARE Tool are used in post-acute care delivery to measure quality. Scoring the CARE Tool items and their impact on rehabilitation outcomes and care delivery for rehabilitation patients will be discussed.

  • View full course details »

Section 4: Care Settings and Delivery

4 Chapters

Overview of Regulations for Post-Acute Rehabilitation Settingskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Regulations Guiding Post-Acute Care Delivery in the U.S.Chapter 1

    Rehabilitation professionals who understand the regulations that guide practice in post-acute care in the U.S. are better able to influence health policy and local or agency processes. The historical context for the current regulations will be discussed. This chapter covers current regulations and payment policy that govern post-acute care.

  • The IMPACT Act of 2014 and Emerging PolicyChapter 2

    Rehabilitation professionals need to recognize how current policy, such as the IMPACT Act and emerging policies, affect their practice. This chapter briefly reviews the IMPACT Act and how this post-acute care reform may impact the patient’s rehabilitation process.

  • The Impact of the IMPACT ActChapter 3

    The IMPACT Act of 2014 will result in significant reform to post-acute care delivery. Issues such as access to care, interpretation of data, and the future influence of current practice on care delivery are reviewed for their impact on post-acute rehabilitation.

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Delivering Patient, Resident, and Caregiver Education in Health Carekeyboard_arrow_down

  • Understanding How People LearnChapter 1

    Health care professionals who understand the theory that underlies how people learn are better able to develop and deliver education to patients/residents and caregivers. Foundational teaching-learning theory and models of learning will be discussed. This chapter covers different learning styles and adult learning principles.

  • Timing Education RightChapter 2

    Teaching patients/residents and caregivers at the right time can result in more effective learning. Assessing readiness to learn and the optimal timing for educational delivery will be discussed.

  • Evidence-Based Teaching for Effective LearningChapter 3

    Health care professionals need to facilitate learning to improve health and prevent complications from disabling conditions. This chapter reviews evidence-based teaching strategies (e.g., motivational interviewing, the teach-back method) to promote effective learning. The result of effective learning and the impact on patient/resident and caregiver health will be discussed.

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Overview of Care Transitions for Rehabilitation Nurseskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Care Transitions and Case ManagementChapter 1

    Case management is an effective means to improve the quality of transitions during the discharge planning and transition of individuals with disabling conditions across the continuum of care. The role of the case manager and a brief overview of models will be described.

  • Resources to Facilitate Care TransitionsChapter 2

    The rehabilitation nurse has a breadth of skill to assess the need for and explore resources to facilitate care transitions. This chapter explores the resources to optimize care transitions. Community, personal, and professional resources to assist with discharge planning and community reintegration are described.

  • Practice Implications Related to Care TransitionsChapter 3

    This chapter presents information on how nurses can influence care transitions through providing input into case management, discharge planning, and community reintegration. The various leadership competencies for rehab nurses to impact care transitions for persons with disability and/or chronic illness are described.

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The Environment of Care and Service Delivery in Rehabilitationkeyboard_arrow_down

  • Measuring and Reporting QualityChapter 1

    Rehabilitation nurses need to understand how quality is measured and reported. This chapter briefly reviews federal quality measurement efforts and reporting requirements for post-acute care settings (inpatient rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies).

  • Models and Tools Used in Performance ImprovementChapter 2

    Continuous quality improvement is necessary to advance rehabilitation nursing practice and provide high-value care. The rehabilitation nurse collaborates with other professionals to improve care delivery. This chapter reviews models and tools for performance improvement.

  • Delivery and Payment for High-Value CareChapter 3

    Rehabilitation nurses need to understand how the quality of rehabilitation care is measured and reimbursed to optimize the effectiveness of their care delivery. This chapter covers a variety of reimbursement and insurance models, utilization management and review, and the regulatory oversight related to payment.

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Section 5: Principles of Providing Appropriate Nursing Care

2 Chapters

Cultural Sensitivity in the Health Care Workplacekeyboard_arrow_down

  • What Is Culture?Chapter 1

    Culture is complex. Rehabilitation providers need to understand what comprises a culture. Factors associated with culture, such as the preferred cultural values, beliefs, worldview, and practices of health care, are described. This chapter covers the definitions and concepts that are relevant to culture.

  • Conscious and Unconscious BiasChapter 2

    Rehabilitation providers need to recognize their own conscious and unconscious biases about cultures different from their own. This chapter briefly explores sources of bias and identifies strategies to increase self-awareness.

  • Providing Culturally Congruent CareChapter 3

    Health care providers can utilize their knowledge, skills, and behaviors to optimize the provision of culturally congruent care. Factors that contribute to the provision of culturally competent care are described.

  • View full course details »

Ethical Principles in Rehabilitation Nursingkeyboard_arrow_down


Section 6: Additional Resources

4 Chapters

Michelle Camicia


Kristen L. Mauk


Paddy Garvin-Higgins


Andrew J. Opett


CEU Approved

11 total hours* of accredited coursework.
MedBridge accredits each course individually so you can earn CEUs as you progress.

      Our clinic could not be happier with MedBridge.

Amy Lee, MPT, OCS
Physical Therapy Central

       MedBridge has allowed us to create a culture of learning that we were previously unable to attain with traditional coursework.

Zach Steele, PT, DPT, OCS
Outpatient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services

    MedBridge has created a cost-effective and quality platform that is the future of online education.

Grant R. Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE
Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get CEU credit?
Each course is individually accredited. Please check each course for your state and discipline. You can receive CEU credit after each course is completed.

When do I get my certificate?
You will receive accredited certificates of completion for each course as you complete them. Once you have completed the entire Certificate Program you will receive your certificate for the program.

*Accreditation Hours
Each course is individually accredited and exact hours will vary by state and discipline. Check each course for specific accreditation for your license.

Do I have to complete the courses in order?
It is not required that you complete the courses in order. Each Certificate Program's content is built to be completed sequentially but it is not forced to be completed this way.

How long do I have access to the Certificate Program?
You will have access to this Certificate Program for as long as you are a subscriber. Your initial subscription will last for one year from the date you purchase.

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Sample Certificate

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