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What does a Restorative Nurse do?

A restorative nurse assists patients who are in recovery from a serious accident or illness with regaining their health and self-sufficiency. Such nurses may practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, or rehabilitation facilities. They may also work with patients in their homes and typically take charge of overseeing a patient's recovery regimen and monitoring its progress. In some cases, he or she may also take on supervisory duties, overseeing a team of health care professionals who assist patients in their recovery. The licensing and training of restorative nurses can vary by jurisdiction and may include additional education and professional certification.

When an individual sustains a major health crisis, she frequently needs both time and specialized care in order to heal and return to functionality. In some cases, these individuals will never fully recover but may need to learn how to adapt to new limitations. In other cases, an individual may be able to return to full health after what can be a long and frustrating process of rehabilitation. During this time, a restorative nurse can assist the patient and his caretakers in adapting to his current health condition and to work toward achieving his health and rehabilitation goals.

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Depending on the circumstances in which a restorative nurse works with the patient, he may be responsible for coordinating the patient's care. For example, the nurse may work with the patient's doctors to ensure that his recommendations are being carried out by the patient's day-to-day caregivers. The nurse may also work with physical and occupational therapists to make sure that the patient gets the rehabilitative and adaptive training that she needs. He may also work with a social worker in situations where there is some question as to the suitability of the patient's home environment or in cases where there is perhaps some risk of abuse or exploitation of the patient. A restorative nurse who is also licensed as a registered nurse (RN) may be required to supervise licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who may be responsible for much of a patient's hands-on care.

The training required to become this type of nurse can vary, and some areas require that nurses who oversee restorative care facilities become certified through an approved training program. In other cases, restorative care nurses may receive on-the-job training or may take additional continuing education course work that focuses on restorative care and rehabilitation. In addition to training programs for RNs, some organizations sponsor restorative health care training for LPNs and CNAs.

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