As the nursing profession continues to become more specialized, there have been more models developed to define specific practice areas. Rehabilitation nursing is practiced in diverse settings along the healthcare continuum with clients who have experienced a disability/chronic illness, such as stroke. No framework was noted in the literature that defined the necessary competencies of the rehabilitation nurse
Purpose: To develop a Competency Model for Professional Rehabilitation Nursing and its application to clinical practice.
Method: An Association of Rehabilitation Nurses’ (ARN) task force was convened, conducted a literature review and participated in “brainstorming” that yielded four domains of professional practice: nurse-led evidence-based interventions; promotion of health and successful living, leadership, and interprofessional practice; and essential role competencies. The competencies were further defined into three levels of proficiency: beginner, intermediate, and advanced (ARN, 2014).
Results: Model is a circle with professional rehabilitation nurse at the center surrounded by four domains and the role competencies, separated by broken lines illustrating the crossover of knowledge and skills represented in each domain. This practice Model can be used to inform stroke care in various settings across the healthcare continuum; and competencies such as facilitating safe and effective care transitions can be used in plan for the stroke survivor and caregiver. Facilitating the stroke survivor’s transition to the right level of care is an essential rehabilitation nurse competency and promotes better outcomes (Camicia et al., 2014). Using competencies, such as interventions based on best evidence, are essential in managing stroke sequela: neurogenic bladder, dysphagia, hemiplegia, etc. The Model can also be used to address the caregiver role and frame the assessment to determine education, community resource, and support needs.
Conclusion: ARN Rehabilitation Professional Nurse Competency Model reflects diversity of rehabilitation nursing in the current healthcare arena; and is an efficacious tool which can assist rehabilitation nurses at various levels to provide optimum stroke care and contribute to best practice.