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Special Tree’s nurses are an integral part of the rehabilitation process. Specializing in rehabilitation and post-acute care, our nurses play an active role in helping patients and their families through recovery from brain and spinal cord injury.  Our nurses strive to provide the highest quality care along with compassion, motivation, and hope to help patients achieve the highest quality of life.  

We spoke with Susan Wollschlager, a rehabilitation nurse at Special Tree’s NeuroCare Campus, to learn more about her role and the meaning she finds in her work. 

Q:  What’s a typical day like for you?
Susan
: It’s rewarding and goes by so fast!  The first part of my day is focused on medication passing.  The remainder is working with my patients to support their rehabilitation care and treatment. That includes not only the typical functional tasks of what nurse do, but also interacting with patients’ families to support them through the rehabilitation process.  My goal is to make it as best as it can be for my patients as they make progress in their recovery. 

Q:  What do you like about working at Special Tree?
Susan:
  The patients and my colleagues!  I work with a lot of amazing people.  We work well together and are very supportive of one another.  Special Tree still has that family atmosphere of caring because the Subacute Rehabilitation unit is smaller, but still large enough to offer our patients state-of-the-art therapy and care.  I’ve also really enjoyed learning about rehabilitation therapies and seeing the innovative treatments that Special Tree offers for brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation.  The treatment modalities have come so far.   Special Tree has also been great about supporting my educational goals, which is a very big part of who I am in my practice.  When I’ve wanted to focus on areas of learning, our Director of Nursing has always gone the extra mile to get me information and has encouraged me to get my certification in rehabilitation nursing.  Special Tree invests in their staff and want them to be their best because that spills over into the best patient care.

Q:  What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Susan:
  Seeing patients make gains in their level of independence – whether they’re returning home or progressing to an assisted living situation.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that are most rewarding like when a patient is able to move their hand which they initially couldn’t do or when a patient gets up out of a wheelchair with therapy and starts walking.  It always amazes me to see the fortitude of our patients and to see how hard every patient, family, and clinician works to make strides in their recovery.   I’m inspired by them every single day.

Q:  Why did you want to work in a rehabilitation setting?
Susan:
  I’d been a nurse in a hospital setting for 30 years and was looking for something new and inspiring.  Working in a rehabilitation setting was a new approach for me in nursing.  I enjoy working closely with respiratory staff, dietitians, physicians, therapists, case managers, and others to provide for clients' day-to-day needs.  I’m continually learning which is what I was also looking for in my nursing career.    Special Tree also has a great reputation for providing excellent rehabilitation services. 

Q: What advice would you give a nurse who’s considering rehabilitation nursing?
Susan:
  If you’re the type of nurse who likes one-on-one communication then you’ll get that here.  As a rehabilitation nurse you really get to know the patients and families because they’re here for a longer duration.  You’re sharing struggles and successes with them which allows for a relationship to really build.  They become part of your family.  To me that’s what life is all about…being there for one another.

We need caring hearts like yours.  Now hiring RNs, LPNs, and Direct Care staff.  Apply online at specialtree.com