Spotlighting a Specialty: Bringing Rehab Into Nursing Schools

Background Nursing school curriculum isn’t standardized & varies in its inclusion of specialty areas, such as the underrepresented Rehabilitation Nursing. Without knowledge of the area, students are unable to formulate perception of the field, much less develop an interest, & the need for future rehab nurses could suffer. The goal of this project was to spotlight Rehab Nursing to current nursing students in hopes of increasing their awareness & interest & encourage more nurses to enter the specialty.

Methods I contacted 15 TX nursing programs with the offer of a potential guest lecture—at a time of their individual choosing—to spotlight Rehabilitative Nursing from the perspective of professional who has been working in the field 5+ yrs. I formulated an educational lecture presentation & Powerpoint, including a Pre-survey that assessed students’ prior knowledge & perception of Rehab & used a scale to rate their interest in seeking employment in the area. A post-survey then re-evaluated students’ perception & interest. When COVID-19 led all nursing schools to transition to an all-online format, the PowerPoint was revised to include a voiceover that could be posted online.

Results/Discussion Initially 4 schools accepted & 1 refused, & then 3 more accepted once the online format was offered. The students’ post-survey results were improved from their pre-surveys, with an increase from 45% to 71% in those who selected “Somewhat Interested” & 0% to 5.9% for “Very Interested.” There was also positive post-feedback received in regards to students’ perception of rehab, with 33% of students indicating “nothing was unappealing.” The study is ongoing, & I have additional requests for lectures this summer & fall. One school also proposed developing an interdisciplinary opportunity with their OTA & PTA students, & one student is seeking to complete her practicum on a Rehab unit.

Implications for Practice This has provided a way to network & build connections among schools, students, & organizations. The overall hope is to continue spreading the knowledge of Rehab nursing in order to inspire new nurses & instill a love for rehab so it can continue growing in the future.

Learning Objectives:

  • Highlight & showcase the area of Rehab Nursing to nursing students in an engaging & relatable way
  • Enhance students’ perception & enthusiasm for rehab to increase interest in seeking rehab employment
  • Facilitate connections among schools, students, & organizations who all care to advance nursing