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Craig Invests in the Future of Patient Care Through Rehab Nursing Certification Incentives

May 11, 2017

This year, Certified Nurses Day was celebrated with a tea party to honor Craig’s Certified Nursing Staff. The emphasis that Craig puts on continuing education and the benefits offered to those who pursue certification ensures that our nursing staff feels empowered to grow their skill sets and become certified. As of today, we have 19 CNRN and 65 CRRN nurses at Craig who continue to provide patients with specialized care and help educate patients and families on living an independent life after Craig.


There are two certifications that are popular among the rehabilitation nursing community at Craig: The Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) and the Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN). Each provides many incentives to nurses looking to stay in the rehabilitation field. Two nurses, Janet Rife and Heidi Schneider, share their decision to become a rehab nurse, the benefits of pursuing an accelerated certification, and how the certifications have helped them progress in their career.

Janet Rife, RN, CRRN, was doing clinical rotations in nursing school, but didn’t know exactly where she wanted to work. All she just knew was that she wanted to help others. Rife didn’t get that “feeling” from other hospitals until she stepped through the doors of Craig Hospital. During her clinical at Craig, Rife realized how much she enjoyed working with the patient population. “When I was hired at Craig, I was astonished by the teamwork for the betterment of the patients!” says Rife. “I see changes every day in the patients, miracles that happen as they find positive improvements. I love being a part of their rehab and encourage them to keep going with it gets tough.”

Eventually, Rife went back to school to become a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN). The purpose of this certification is to increase knowledge of best practices for patients in need of rehabilitation. There are several hours of continuing education needed to maintain the certification, which means that nurses, like Rife, can further educate patients, resulting in more independence and increased quality of life after discharge. “That’s the whole reason for rehabilitation, after all,” says Rife.

Since obtaining her CRRN, Rife has become one of the “go-to” nurses, joined several committees throughout Craig, and has been able to expand her career with endless development opportunities. The certification has also helped Rife become a clinical scholar with student nurses from University of Colorado Denver, Regis University, and CNA students from Littleton High School.

Heidi Schneider, RN, CNRN, started her career at Craig as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) while she attended nursing school. She was doing nursing rotations at other hospitals, but she found that the atmosphere of Craig, the personal connections made with patients and staff, was like no other. “I loved watching the journey patients take from admission to discharge and being able to participate in that journey. That is why I became a nurse, to make a difference in someone’s life,” says Schneider.

The Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse is a specialized certification that advances the practice of nurses who support patients suffering from head and spinal trauma, stroke, and illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, encephalitis, epilepsy and MS. Having that additional education provides nurses with the philosophy and practices to treat Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury patients and educate their families.

Schneider says her CNRN certification is two-fold. “I felt it was important to gain a better understanding of the neuroscience behind our patients’ injuries. I wanted to bring more to the table when I had conversations with the doctors and therapists, and be able to communicate those conversations to patients and families in a meaningful way.” says Schneider. “I also have a child with epilepsy, so the insight into her illness was an added benefit.”

Schneider had the privilege of presenting at the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) Annual Educational Meeting this past March. “I was able to network with other nurses in the field and bring back new developments and innovations in of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to Craig,” says Schneider. “Holding a CNRN certificate motivates me to set a higher standard of care within our hospital and advocate for my patients and their families.”

The certification is necessary to apply for clinical ladder within Craig. The hospital helps support nurses become certified by paying for their American Association of Neuroscience Nursing (AANN) membership. In addition to the career growth and development, there is a financial benefit to being certified as a CNRN or CRRN at Craig. Nurses receive a 5% pay increase when the certification is up-to-date.