Rehabilitation Nursing: Empowering Patients

Article by Ann E. Butenas

Celebrating National Nurses Month with the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses and MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital

May is National Nurses Month, and it is the perfect time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of nurses all around the world. Nurses play an integral role in providing quality care to patients and ensuring their well-being during difficult times. As we celebrate National Nurses Month, we must also recognize the important role that the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) plays in the healthcare industry.

One facility that truly embodies the dedication and compassion of nurses is MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, celebrating 35 years this year. Located in Overland Park and serving the Kansas City area and beyond, MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital is a renowned destination for inpatient rehabilitation services, specializing in complex neurological and orthopedic conditions. They have Joint Commission-certified programs for stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, and Parkinson’s disease. After a life-altering illness or injury, choosing the right place to rehabilitate is essential. At MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, you can rest assured the team is dedicated to helping patients overcome their challenges and return to what truly matters – a fulfilling life.

Misty Backer, RN, MSN, CRRN, and Chief Nursing Officer at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, has spent 16 years as a nurse and has been in rehabilitation nursing most of those years. With a strong background in skilled nursing, Backer found her calling in rehabilitation nursing at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital in 2023. She expressed her passion for helping patients rehabilitate and become more independent and successful at home.

“Rehab nurses really work at rehabilitating our patients,” she expressed. “We are the middlemen between acute care and home. We educate and provide tools to the patient and their families/caregivers to help them become more independent and successful at home.”
These nurses work around the clock to help patients with medications, sleep issues, and education for both patients and their families. For example, Backer emphasized the importance of sleep hygiene for patients in rehabilitation, stating that a good sleeping environment can have an appreciable impact on healing, focus, and rehabilitation.

“Sleep hygiene is vital,” explained Backer. “For these patients, it is important to do things before bed, so the mind shuts down and prepares for sleep. This includes having a good sleeping environment. Sleep is so necessary for healing, focus, and rehabilitation.”
Backer enjoys seeing patients not only set goals, but reach them, and finds this to be one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.

“The rehab nurses at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital assist patients with setting realistic goals and celebrate both small and large milestones along the way,” expressed Backer. As such patients and their families find the support and encouragement provided by the nursing team to be rewarding and empowering. The nurses at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital champion their patients to get back home and back to their lives, ensuring they have the resources and guidance they need to thrive.

The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses is a valuable resource for nurses like Backer and her team at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital. Backer currently serves as the Secretary of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the ARN and highlighted the advocacy and research initiatives of the organization. The ARN also provides free CEUs (Continuing Education Units) for nurses as part of its membership and low cost options for therapists and other healthcare professionals.

One of the key aspects of rehabilitation nursing is the focus on helping patients see their abilities rather than their disabilities. While a patient’s life may look different after a life-changing illness or injury, it is essential to change perspective and embrace the new opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead. By empowering patients to see beyond their limitations and focus on what they can do, rather than what they cannot, the nursing team at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital helps patients live life to the fullest.

As we celebrate National Nurses Month, it is important to recognize the vital role that nurses play in providing quality care and support to patients during challenging times. Facilities like MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, with their expert team of nurses, therapists, physicians, and case managers, are dedicated to helping patients get back to what matters most. The commitment and compassion of rehab nurses like Backer are truly inspiring, as they work tirelessly to empower patients and celebrate their achievements along the road to recovery. The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses provides valuable resources and support to nurses in the field, ensuring they have the tools and knowledge to provide the best possible care to their patients. By highlighting the importance of rehab nursing and facilities like MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital, we can honor the incredible work of nurses and celebrate the impact they have on the lives of patients and their families every day.

For more information on MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital
contact them at 913-491-2400
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