Monica Durocher, a nurse at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, recalls many long nights studying as a nursing student at Northland Pioneer College in Show Low, AZ.
“When I selected nursing as my major, I knew the classwork would be intense,” she says. “But it didn’t intimidate me. I was entering a field where people’s lives literally depended on me, and that’s a sobering responsibility. I knew it was my job to learn as much as I could to help my future patients. The more I could learn, the better nurse I’d be.”
After 9 years in the profession, Durocher still feels the same way. Like many of her colleagues, Durocher values the importance of staying abreast of the latest medical developments, techniques, and treatments in her field through professional continuing education.
“I have to keep up with the latest medical treatments and techniques so I can provide the best care possible to my patients,” she says. “I’m committed to lifelong learning in my field – both what’s mandatorily required, and what I can add to it voluntarily.”
In addition to the continuing education Durocher participates in to maintain her state nursing license, she also has voluntarily earned – and maintains — the national Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) credential. Nurses who achieve this credential demonstrate knowledge, experience, and commitment to excellence in providing comprehensive care to people with physical disabilities or chronic illnesses.
To earn the CRRN designation, Durocher met clinical practice requirements in rehabilitation nursing and passed an exam that confirmed her extensive knowledge in the field. The exam covered the scope of rehabilitation nursing practice including models and theories; functional health patterns such as theories, physiology, assessment, standards of care, and interventions in individuals with injury, chronic illness, and disability across the lifespan; function of the rehabilitation team; community re-entry; and legislative, economic, ethical and legal issues.
“Deciding to pursue this certification was an easy decision,” Durocher says. “I’m committed to providing the best care I can to my patients who may have disabilities or chronic illnesses. I want to provide them with optimal opportunities so they can function to the best of their abilities. I think I do this by continually expanding my knowledge in rehabilitative care.”
Along with CRRNs, some of the staff at MVRRH also is Neuro-IFRAH certified. This means that they have specialized knowledge to treat and manage adults who have suffered brain injuries or strokes. Others are certified hand therapists who focus on the rehabilitation treatment of the hand and upper limbs, which can include tendon, peripheral nerve, crush or repetitive motion injuries.