Every part of a patient’s journey offers an opportunity for impact – from the moment the patient first interacts with a member of our team, to the moment when they return home. It takes a diverse team with a wide variety of skills to provide the best care to patients at every stage of their journey – and that includes rehab nurses.

Rehab nurses walk alongside patients as they recover from a procedure or surgery, helping to ease them through the healing process in a holistic meaningful way. Their work is essential in allowing patients to return home as healthy as possible. In fact, a few UPMC physicians shared with us just how important the role of the rehab nurse can be.

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“Rehabilitation Nursing is a very special field of nursing. They are vital in the success of a collaborative care program in a rehabilitation unit… and in helping our patients transition back to the community successfully.” Dr. Debbie Tan

“Simply put, rehab nurses change and improve patients’ lives. Rehab nurses have a unique skillset and are a source of comfort and encouragement after patients have experienced a difficult event. The length of stay permits formation of a personal therapeutic relationship. I depend on rehab nurses and their knowledge of their patients’ conditions every day.”Dr. Maria Twichell

“I depend on rehab nurses to make sure that my patients are safe, stable, and progressing through their rehabilitation program. Brain injured patients are neurologically, medically, and behaviorally complex, and I know that the rehab nurses I work with have the expertise to manage their needs and to recognize when something is wrong.”Dr. Kevin Franzese

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Let’s get to know a few rehab nurses on our team!

Damara M.

Sr. Clinician, UPMC Mercy

"There is just something special about being a rehab nurse. You really see people during some of the most challenging moments of their lives and then you get to help them overcome these new obstacles. You build a bond with the patients and laugh together, you cry together, you tell stories, and you get to know their families. But the best part is being able to watch the progress that is being made – from needing total assistance for things, to being able to stand by and watch them do it on their own is what I enjoy most about working as a rehab nurse over other specialties."

Lonna P.

Sr. Clinician, UPMC Mercy

"Some people call us the 'Get Your Life Back Institute,' and that is truly what happens at the UPMC Mercy Rehabilitation Institute. Patients come to the spinal cord injury rehab unit scared, angry, and defeated, as if life is over. We show them how they will navigate life differently, but will be able function in their new life. Seeing these patients smile again is priceless.

I stay here because seeing those smiles warms my heart. I am blessed to be able to help people who need my assistance in this specialty. I have had many roles on this unit, from PCT, to floor nurse, to case manager, and now clinician. I love passing on all my knowledge to patients and families.

Holly B.

Staff Nurse, UPMC McKeesport

“I love caring for the people who come through our unit. The patients arrive at the most vulnerable moments in their lives, and I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen to help guide them on their journey. This has made for a fabulous learning environment for both personal and career growth.

I honestly believe I make a positive impact on my patients. I enjoy watching them work towards their goals and eventually go home. The UPMC Rehabilitation Department is a second family for me!”

Kelsey S.

Sr. Clinician, UPMC Mercy

"I enjoy the rehab aspect of nursing because it still continues to challenge me in my role as a nurse. I love working with the traumatic brain injury (TBI) population and working with those around me who also love the thrill that a TBI unit can have. I enjoy the care provided in Mercy Rehab through a multidisciplinary approach and seeing our patients succeed during one their most challenging times. Rehab is where I started as a nurse, and I plan to always keep it part of me no matter where my nursing career leads me in the future.

I have worked on my unit, 6E, for six years and most recently took the Clinician role this past year. I always wanted to work my way up the ladder and given my strong background in TBI, it just felt right to become Clinician on a unit I know I hold so near and dear to my heart."

Jacquelynn P.

Professional Staff Nurse, UPMC Mercy

"I starting working on the Spinal Cord Rehab unit in 2016. I grew from a nursing assistant to a patient care technician, and after a few years I was promoted to the lead patient care technician for my unit. I have always loved working on this floor and decided to further my education and go back to school to become a registered nurse. I attended the UPMC Mercy School of Nursing, which meant I did my clinicals all throughout UPMC Mercy, and not a single one compared to Spinal Cord Rehab for me.

On this unit, we are able to build a relationship with our patients and their families because they are here for an extended period of time. We watch them get healthier, stronger, and regain mobility. It's so rewarding to be a part of that experience with them. I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference, and I believe we do that on Spinal Cord Rehab."

Sara B.

Sr. Professional Staff Nurse, UPMC East

“The reason I remain a Rehab Nurse at UPMC, and take great pride in my work, is because UPMC has been there for me as a support system throughout all the years I have worked to better myself as a nurse and patient advocate. Throughout many changes over the past year as a nurse through the COVID-19 pandemic, UPMC has assisted me in bettering myself as a nurse, through education, award nominations, tuition reimbursement, and professional certification."

Anthony F.

Sr. Licensed Practical Nurse, UPMC Mercy

“The rehabilitation unit is the last stop for patients before going home. Watching their progress is very rewarding work, and I have remained at UPMC because I love what I do. I enjoy the patients and the people I work with and for. Rehab nursing has afforded me the opportunity to help patients go from weak and needing help to strong, self-sufficient and most importantly, home. I’m a proud member of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute team.”

Courtney B.

Sr. Professional Staff Nurse, UPMC St. Margaret

“I have been a nurse on the Rehabilitation Unit at UPMC St Margaret's for a little over 3 years. There is something so special about being a rehab nurse and helping patients on their road to recovery. We truly see people during the scariest and most challenging times of their lives and help them learn to overcome. We help them learn to walk, eat, talk, and gain their independence again. I can't think of anything more rewarding!"

With sign-on bonuses available of up to $20,000 for experienced rehab nurses and up to $15,000 for graduate nurses, there has never been a better time to join our team at UPMC!