Member Spotlight

Welcome to the ARN Member Spotlight!

Click here for an online form to submit your nomination for the next Member Spotlight.
Please note: You must have a photo uploaded in order to be considered. Email us at info@rehabnurse.org with any questions you have.

December:

Brenda French, RN MSN CRRN CBIS VHA-CM RN-BC
Polytrauma Staff Educator
McGuire VAMC
Member of the ARN Virginia Chapter
ARN member since 2008


I joined ARN because…
In 2007 I joined the rehabilitation team at the Veteran's Hospital in Richmond. I had no rehabilitation experience and I knew I needed to learn all I could as quickly as I could. I did a little research on the professional organization we know and love as ARN. As soon as I was eligible I became certified and encouraged others to do so. I have found the resources available through ARN to be extremely important in the development of my staff and myself. I can now proudly boast that at my facility we have increased our certified nurses to the point that we have more CRRN's than any other specialty.

I love Member Circle because…
I have found the Member Circle to be another tool that I can use to network, disseminate information and make new friends. I started a blog for the VA-DoD nurses and plan to get more of that group involved. I love that we can ask each other questions and share information. After returning from the 2014 conference in California, I was easily able to locate one of my new friends in the Member Circle and we have since shared several emails.

Share a few of your most recent accomplishments:
WOW. The fact that I have lived this long is a major accomplishment to me. I never thought I would make it. I am thrilled that I was able to serve on the 2014 ARN National Conference planning committee. It was a true honor. I was able to speak at the NSNA Conference a few years back representing ARN and that was also a big honor. Since 2009 I have served on a National Veterans Health Administration Polytrauma Field Advisory Committee representing the rehab nurses working for the VA and DoD. I learned so much from that experience and the peers I work with I will forever be grateful for that opportunity. On December 10th I am taping a program that will be available on demand for the VA-DoD nurses on Dual Diagnosis of SCI/PTSD and or TBI. I have a feeling that when all the pieces finally come together it may turn out to be one of my most memorable accomplishments for 2014.

What are you passionate about outside of your career?
I have been married to the same man for 35 plus years and have two handsome sons that tell me they love me every time they see me. I have a beautiful old lab named LucyPDog. She is 13 and barely gets around. But she is very popular and has her own Facebook page. Check it out. I also have two beautiful granddaughters: one that will be 2y on 1/1/15 and one that was born on 5/5/14. Their mother's birthday is 10/10 so with all those double digits the birthdays are easy to remember. I have always dreamed of living on the beach - somewhere on the Gulf Coast of Mexico and being a writer. All my writing friends say you either are a writer or you are not.... so I am a writer. My dream was to write like Nora Roberts and or Rod McKuen and so far I have done little of it other than my novel I am working on about sisters. But that is my plan. I also teach online for the University of Phoenix. I love teaching students and for the last several years I mainly teach nurses that plan to go into education roles and become nursing faculty. All of those things are what bring me a lot of joy. I also have always loved humor. I have a presentation I do about healthcare and humor and have presented it at churches, conferences and small community groups. I have been asked several times to try standup comedy and all though I am not sure I am ready to be heckled you never know when I might come to an open-mike night near you!!!!

What advice would you give to others who are just starting out in rehabilitation nursing?
Soak it up! Learn everything you can about the job you are doing. As an educator I am all about lifelong learning but I think others forget. If you want to be the best you can be you have to put forth effort. It is easy to clock in and out and go home after working 8 hours. I encourage nurses to get involved and stay active. These are a few ways it can be done: do a poster, present a nursing grand round topic or volunteer to serve on a committee at work or with the local ARN chapter. So many times people do not get involved because no one asked them to...but don't wait…ask them if you can help. Be positive and nurture your coworkers. I often hear from my students that coworkers ridicule them for going back to school. How sad. We should be cheerleaders for our peers and celebrate their successes, not criticize with jealousy.

Connect with Brenda here!

November:
Jynae Clapper, MSN RN
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Assistant Director of a nursing inpatient rehabilitation unit
Member of the ARN South Bay Chapter
ARN member since 2013

I joined ARN because I relocated from the Midwest to Monterey, California for my current position and to open a brand new inpatient rehabilitation unit (IRU). I've done many different specialties in my nursing career and have held many different positions as a nurse and manager, but I had never stepped into the arena of rehab nursing. I joined ARN to network with others who are "experts" in rehab nursing and to learn from the national network how rehab units/hospitals practice. I'm also passionate about life-long learning and evidence-based practices and find that ARN offers lots of continuing education as well as tools with best practices. I enjoy receiving the monthly journal and e-mail newsletters from ARN. For someone new to rehab nursing, ARN has provided me with a wealth of information. I'm eagerly counting down the days to the annual conference in Anaheim. Not only will it be my first ARN conference, it will also be my first time to Anaheim!

In addition, I strongly believe that nurses must continue to grow as professionals and stay active in their profession. ARN is just one way we have to do these things within the realm of rehab nursing. I consistently encourage my staff nurses to join ARN. As a team, we have our sights set on tackling the CRRN within the next two years!

I love Member Circle because I enjoy learning about how others within acute rehab practice across the country. When in doubt, I've found that there is always someone out there experiencing the same challenges and it's fun and interesting to share experiences and practices. There are so many expert nurses out there in the field of rehab and it truly is an exciting thing to be able to come together in Member Circle to ask questions and respond to others’ questions.

Share a few of your most recent accomplishments.
One of the biggest accomplishments was opening the brand new Inpatient Rehab Unit in September 2013. I was responsible for hiring the nursing staff to open the unit and set-up over 80 hours of orientation for the new staff. We successfully opened the unit as planned and have been busy ever since. I strive to consistently tweak our practices and foster an environment of excellence holding the staff to the highest of standards.

What are you passionate about outside of your career?
My passion outside of work is spending time with my husband and 2-year-old daughter. We’re new to the Monterey Peninsula, so we spend our non-work time touring the area and all that the Peninsula has to offer, including: whale watching, living in the “Salad Bowl of the World”, living in the county with the largest number of vineyards in the state of California, weekend journeys down HWY 1 along the California coast, and enjoying the world famous “17-mile drive” through Pebble Beach! Always something to do on the Monterey Peninsula!

What advice would you give to others who are just starting out in rehabilitation nursing?
What an AMAZING specialty of nursing! I’ve done many things in my nursing career from Chief Nursing Officer to critical care nurse at a Level I trauma center and nothing compares or is even similar to rehabilitation nursing. Being a nurse in rehab is a very tough job….not only dealing with the physical aspect of assisting patients, but mentally as well. I’ve found dealing with patients and their families during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives is so rewarding and so humbling. You must develop a passion for rehab nursing and truly “live it”…..never give up and know that being a rehab nurse is not for the weak and as with other specialties in nursing, there is always something new to learn and incorporate into your nursing practice.

Connect with Jynae here!

October:
Cindy Carreno, CRRN
Stillwater Medical Center
Clinical Manager
ARN member since 2011


I joined ARN because
I feel that it is important to be a member of your nursing organization. I wanted to stay current on what is happening in rehab and with legislation. There is no better way than being a member of your nursing organization. I am the clinical manager of a rehab unit and it is important for me to be aware of changes in our field and to ensure that we are always following best practices.

I love Member Circle because I love being able to learn from other rehab nurses and this is such a quick way to put questions out there and receive input from other experts in the field. We are all willing to share and help each other which makes us better at what we do and that in turn is passed down to our patients and the staff in our areas. I love reading what others are doing or struggling with and being able to share my knowledge or experience. It is an amazing network and it helps to know that we are not alone in some of our struggles. I think this is such a valuable tool.

Share a few of your most recent accomplishments.
Have gone from having no CRRN’s to 5 and 3 more scheduled to test this coming year on our 16 bed unit. We have reduced our CAUTI rate to zero. We have also reduced preventable falls and have had no falls resulting in injury.

What are you passionate about outside of your career?
would have to say I am very passionate about my children and 4 grandchildren. I am also very involved with my church and have a deep passion for local outreaches and missions. I have been on mission trips to Honduras, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda. For the past 7 years I have helped lead a team to Rwanda and I have absolutely fallen in love with the country and the people.

What advice would you give to others who are just starting out in rehabilitation nursing?
often describe being a rehab nurse as med surg nursing on steroids. Our patients are coming to us with a variety of chronic conditions that we must treat while helping them regain back their lives. As a rehab nurse you are giving your patients their lives back through helping them adapt to their new normal. We are a specialty field and without rehab nurses many of our patients would have no hope or no future. Our job is challenging and rewarding at the same time but there is no better feeling then to see a patient walk out of our unit when everyone else told them they would end up in a nursing home. You are an important part of the rehab team!!!!!

Connect with Cindy here!