The American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS), the organization that represents nearly a half million certified nurses states:
Specialty nursing certification is THE standard by which the public recognizes quality nursing care. With the increasingly complex patient/client needs within the current healthcare delivery system, care needs are best met when registered nurses, certified in specialty practice, provide nursing care.
Health Calls Home Health Agency Nurse Manager Cindy Dey, BSN RN CRRN, became certified in Rehabilitation Nursing in 1991. Cindy loves rehab nursing and teaching. She started her career working in neurotrauma at an Acute Rehabilitation Hospital. From the beginning, Cindy enjoyed working with patients and their families who needed to be independent with care in order to take their disabled family member out of the building on the grounds or even off-site for a therapeutic day pass, and to ultimately bring them home at discharge. Cindy became proficient and specialized in rehabilitation nursing knowledge and practice, taking the time to really focus on her patients – people suffering from head trauma.
When asked about her career choices, Cindy says, “I took my career path seriously and wanted to be as proficient as possible with caring for Neurotrauma patients. In order to be certified, you must be experienced by working in rehabilitation for an extended period, and pass a written exam. The definition of rehabilitation nursing has grown and expanded over the years, and its principles of collaborative effort and team work are essential with nursing as a whole. Rehabilitation Nursing focuses on returning patients back to living optimal functional lives, although for some people it is a new normal. The goal is to get patients and the family unit to a functional, independent, active lifestyle. Rehab nurses focus on the whole person and not their disability. It is something that I have a passion for, it has been the basis for my career in Home Health Nursing and also during my time teaching as an adjunct clinical nursing instructor.”
Cindy’s road to certification unfolded after her inpatient rehabilitation nursing job was completed. While many nurses become certified when working in an inpatient rehabilitation nursing setting, Cindy became certified once she found a home as a home health nurse. Since Rehabilitation Nursing is a specialty area practiced in many settings, Cindy was able to find so much relevance in her home health setting.
Today, Cindy is the On Call and Weekend Nurse Manager for Health Calls Home Health Agency, located in Wyomissing, PA. This job is a combination of many positions. Cindy is responsible for the after hour and weekend management of the agency. She takes all incoming telephone calls, which she proudly says come directly to her, as Health Calls does not have an answering service. “Our patients, nurses, therapists, referral sources, and the community get to talk to a live person, which is rare today.”
Cindy believes her firm rehab background has been very beneficial in Home Health Nursing. Traditional, site-based Rehabilitation Nursing teaches patients and their families about adapting and caring for themselves, or loved one, their health issues, as well as preventing new problems.
“In a rehab facility there are no unusual structural obstacles or throw rugs, there are large spaces to lay out supplies for treatments and wound care, wide doorways, elevated toilets and handicapped safety railings, no stair cases or narrow hallways to navigate, to either get into your home or to get to your bed.”
“On the contrary, when patients are at home, they learn to adapt, navigate and work around pets, large pieces of furniture, and many obstacles. They learn how to care for themselves and regain their independence. The goals of Rehab Nursing and Home Health Nursing are the same: assessing, treating, assisting, teaching, and guiding patients in the transition back home, which is often a time of crisis. In all settings, rehabilitation nurses help patients and families make a paradigm shift and adapt from a time of dependence and illness to independence and wellness, or to manage with chronic illness, with the assistance of family or with the help of community services. We teach patients and families how to navigate through real life circumstances
, and how to adapt to them, as well as who to reach out to in case of a problem”.
Cindy uses her specialty practice each day. Her typical day includes:
- responding to critical vital signs in home tele-monitoring units the agency employs with patients with cardiac and respiratory problems,
- taking calls from patients who are having medical problems,
- responding to patient and family concerns and questions,
- talking patients through medication schedule or dose questions,
- trouble shooting medical problems or symptoms, and
- problem-solving complex home care equipment with patients and families on the telephone.
Twenty-three years ago, Cindy met her husband, who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Germany, on a blind date that her cousin set up. Cindy and Stefan have been married for 20 years and have three children: Summer, Jeremiah, and Danielle. Cindy’s 85 year-old mother also lives with the family. Cindy describes herself as chronically early; she hates to be late for anything. She is also a huge history buff and loves to travel. Cindy is the only child of a third generation dairy farmer and a self-professed country kind of girl. She graduated from Widener University.