Rehabilitation nurses possess knowledge and skills that enable them to integrate the assessment and management of patients’ acute and chronic health conditions with guidance, education, therapy and care that supports achievement of each patient’s rehabilitation goals.
The Rehabilitation Nursing Competency Standards enable rehabilitation nurses to enact nursing’s evidence-based understanding of rehabilitation as a continuous 24/7 process in the provision of scheduled and opportunistic goal-directed therapy across all aspects of a patient’s rehabilitation. This makes the rehabilitation nurse an integral member of the interdisciplinary care team and positions them well to provide collaborative leadership of the interdisciplinary team as they navigate complex pathways and discharge plans.
The Competency Standards are research based and were developed after extensive member consultation across all ARNA Chapters. In addition, the Competency Standards are informed by the World Health Organisation's (2001) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. The Standards should be used to guide the development of rehabilitation nursing practice at both an individual and system level.
At an individual level, the Competency Standards can be used as a framework for professional development to enhance knowledge and practice in relation to nursing specific responsibilities including:
• Continuous assessment and management of patient status in relation to physical, cognitive, social and emotional, and spiritual health and wellbeing
• Early identification and interpretation of signs of patient deterioration
• Timely escalation of care
• Teaching and coaching patients to enable self-management
• Psychosocial and spiritual support to enable health and wellbeing
• Individual goal-directed therapeutic care to support patient goal achievement
• Proactively manipulating the care environment and processes to support patient rehabilitation and promote patient safety and quality of care
At a system level, the Competency Standards can be used to articulate rehabilitation nursing practice and guide curriculum development. Importantly, these Competency Standards are to be used in conjunction with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) Registered Nurse (RN) standards for practice.
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