Being a rehabilitation nurse means caring for patients recovering from a life-changing injury or illness, many with high acuity needs. Madonna nurses utilize all the clinical skills they learned in school while building meaningful connections with each patient and their family. Nurse Supervisor Evan Hohnstein said he knew rehabilitation nursing was his calling more than 10 years ago when he started as a nurse aide on Madonna’s Lincoln Campus. Read on to learn about his path to advancement and why Madonna was the right choice for him and his family.
Q. How long have you worked at Madonna, and what is your role/title?
A. “I originally started at Madonna in August of 2011 as a nurse aide at the rehabilitation hospital on the Lincoln Campus. I worked for two years as a nurse aide before leaving for a little over a year while pursuing an RN degree. I returned to Madonna as a night nurse on the same unit in November of 2014. I was able to continue to advance my career, as my current role is one of the night nurse supervisors on the rehabilitation hospital during the week.”
Q. What inspired you to become a rehabilitation nurse?
A. “I knew I wanted to be a rehabilitation nurse after getting a start as a nurse aide working at Madonna, seeing the incredible recoveries from traumatic injuries first hand. I knew this was where I wanted to be, making an impact and playing a role in that recovery. I returned as soon as I earned my RN degree.”
Q. What makes rehabilitation nursing different than at an acute care hospital?
A. “As a rehabilitation nurse, we are focused on assisting patients in their return to everyday life and helping them learn how to continue to thrive after a severe illness or injury. Nurses at Madonna are able to help make a noticeable impact with their patients and work with them for weeks to months as they continue to gain independence. During that time, we really get to know each patient we care for, and they get to know us.”
Q. What does a normal shift look like for you?
A. “A usual shift for me has me arriving to make assignments for the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. night shift. Then go through the daytime patient care updates from the day nurse therapists, making note of any changes. I then check in with all of my staff to pass along necessary updates from the team and coordinate a plan for the night and see where I can assist. Some of our core values are collaboration, hospitality and respect, which means everyone is on the same team. We are all happy to jump in where we’re needed and make sure we all succeed.”
Q. What’s your favorite part of the job?
A. “My favorite part of the job is working with patients and seeing them make gains in independence and function in order to be able to return home. I also appreciate the opportunities for growth and development. Young nurses are able to learn from and work alongside experienced nurses through our preceptorship program and nurse residency program. Many become passionate about working as a rehabilitation nurse and pursue further certification as a CRRN (Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse) to increase their knowledge of rehabilitation nursing. Madonna encourages that, and will help cover costs.”
Q. Anything else you’d like to add?
A. “It may sound somewhat cheesy, but I really thought that Madonna was such a great place to work that I recruited my future wife to come work here as well. My wife has been a Madonna employee since 2011, and continues to work here as a weekend program nurse on the rehabilitation hospital at the Lincoln Campus.”