Do you want to establish yourself as having expertise in rehabilitation nursing? Do you want to stand out in your profession? Have you been looking for a credential that demonstrates your knowledge and experience as a rehabilitation nurse?
Consider taking the CRRN® exam!
Why Should You Get Certified?
In addition to helping nurses grow professionally, nursing certification has several key benefits, including:
- Improved patient safety
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Decreased length of stay
- Higher organizational performance scores
- Increased credibility for nurses
- Increased job satisfaction for nurses1,2
Nurses who are certified express a personal sense of accomplishment. Some organizations offer a pay increase for certification or will pay for the exam, and many hospitals include certification as part of their clinical ladder program. Check with your own facility to see what’s offered for you.
Certification in a specialty area allows the nurse to use a credential that recognizes expertise in a specific area of nursing. In rehabilitation nursing, that designation is Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN®) and is offered through the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN).
One of the most significant outcomes related to rehabilitation nursing certification comes from a landmark study on nursing staffing rehabilitation: “For every 6% increase in CRRNs® in the unit, the average length of stay decreased by one day.”3 Imagine the impact of this finding! This is a quantifiable benefit that should be shared with your organization because decreasing patient length of stay is an important outcome measure for quality care, patient satisfaction,
and cost savings.
Rehabilitation Nursing Is a Specialty
Just like oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, or neurology, rehabilitation nursing is a specialty with a core curriculum, scope and standards of practice, and unique knowledge in a given area.4
Rehabilitation nurses work with persons and families who have been affected by disability or chronic illness. This includes those with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, neurological diseases, orthopedic problems (such as amputation), cardiopulmonary issues, cancer, burns, and congenital deformities.
Rehabilitation nurses practice across the entire spectrum of post-acute care from acute rehabilitation to home health and skilled nursing facilities. They can be leaders, administrators, clinicians, advocates, and consultants.
The ARN has developed role descriptions for twelve different areas of rehabilitation nursing practice:
- Gerontological Rehab Nurse
- Home Care Rehab Nurse
- Pain Management Rehab Nurse
- Pediatric Rehab Nurse
- Rehab Nurse Manager
- Rehab Admissions Liaison
- Advanced Practice Rehabilitation Nurse
- Rehabilitation Nurse Case Manager
- Rehabilitation Nurse Educator
- Rehabilitation Staff Nurse
- Rehabilitation Nurse Researcher
- LPN/LVN on the Rehabilitation Team
If you practice in one of these areas, you may be eligible to take the CRRN® exam, provided you meet the other criteria discussed below.
Preparing for the CRRN® Exam
The ARN offers the CRRN® exam twice per year, in the months of June and December. The certification exam is taken at standardized testing sites and must be taken in person. Currently, no international certification or online testing is available for those living outside the U.S. and Canada. The exam is only offered in English.
As with most nursing certifications, earning a CRRN® requires a certain amount of practice to be eligible to sit for the exam. Eligibility requires:
- An unrestricted RN license in the US or Canada
- At least two years of practice in rehabilitation nursing in the last five years, or one year plus at least one year of advanced study beyond the BSN within the last five years, validated by a supervisor
- Passing the certification exam
It is wise to prepare adequately for this examination. Many education products are available to assist nurses in their study. Those who wish to take the exam should be familiar with the outline of the test. Additionally, study materials such as flash cards, review courses, and the ARN core curriculum can be purchased through the ARN website.
MedBridge offers a unique CRRN® test preparation program. Many key professionals in the field of rehabilitation nursing (including several past ARN Presidents, authors, and leaders in the field) are instructors for this series, which will help nurses prepare for the certification exam. This prep program is also appropriate for anyone who is preparing for specialty practice in rehabilitation nursing. Nine renowned educators and clinicians have compiled more than 28 hours of content in rehabilitation nursing linked to the CRRN® exam blueprint. The program uses the traditional, high quality MedBridge format of professionally filmed courses, demonstrations, case studies, and learning assessments with rationales. There is also a course specifically on studying tips for the CRRN® exam as well as practice tests with prep questions to help you be successful on the certification test.
When you register for the CRRN® preparation program, you’ll also be eligible to join a special Facebook group, hosted by MedBridge and created specifically for those who are preparing to take the CRRN® exam. This group is facilitated by me, Dr. Kristen Mauk, and will help provide peer support, answer questions, offer guidance, and serve as a forum for discussion. I encourage you to join us as you prepare for your journey towards attaining the CRRN® credential!
- Martin, L. C., Arenas-Montoya, N. M., & Barnett, T. O. (2015). Impact of nurse certificate rates on patient satisfaction and outcomes: a literature review. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 46(12), 549-554.
- Neira, P. M., Maliszewski, B., Toledo, R., Borries, K., & Baptiste, D. L. (2016). Increasing the number of certified registered nurses in an emergency department: a cohort program implementation. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 32(5), 262-264.
- Nelson, A., Powell-Cope, G., Palacios, P., Luther, S. L., Black, T., Hillman, T., et al. (2007). Nurse staffing and patient outcomes in inpatient rehabilitation settings. Rehabilitation Nursing, 32(5), 179-202.
- Mauk, K. L. (2013). The effect of advanced practice nurse-modulated education on rehabilitation nursing staff knowledge. Rehabilitation Nursing, 38(2), 99-111.