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The NHRMC Rehabilitation Department offers comprehensive physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services in locations and settings throughout the network.

Our department includes about 190 people, including 55 physical therapists, 25-30 occupational therapists, and 12-15 speech language pathologists, as well as recreation therapists, a rehabilitation counselor, 5 case managers, 2 social workers and various support staff.

Acute Care Rehabilitation

Acute Care Rehabilitation Services (ACRS) staff work with patients at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital and Pender Memorial Hospital who are impaired as a result of illness, injury, or surgical procedures. Staff work with patients at the bedside to help them rebuild strength and recover mobility.

Rehabilitation Hospital

The New Hanover Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation Hospital offers comprehensive rehabilitation services designed to help patients with both chronic conditions and traumatic injuries achieve independence and mobility through inpatient treatment.

Stroke patients make up about 25% of our population at the Rehabilitation Hospital. There is a heavy emphasis on neurodevelopmental technique as basis for therapy. Spinal cord-injured patients, brain-injured patients, and amputees each account for another 10% of the inpatient population. The average age of inpatients at Rehab Hospital is 64. We serve about 5-10 adolescent patients per year and do not admit patients younger than 13. Our average length of stay is between 14-15 days.

We have received exemplary reports from CARF because many of our nurses are rehabilitation certified. Of the approximately 30 RNs on staff, 18 are certified in rehabilitation, and several more sit for certification each year. Additionally, many of the therapy staff have certifications and advanced training in neurodevelopmental technique, SAEBO, VitalStim, and other rehab expertise.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services

NHRMC offers a full range of physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help patients who need continuing therapy on an outpatient basis. Outpatient services are provided at Oleander Rehabilitation, Independence Rehabilitation, and Pender Memorial Hospital's Outpatient Rehabilitation Center at Rocky Point.

Oleander Rehabilitation serves adult and pediatric populations, offering physical, occupational and speech therapy. The Oleander location also offers aquatic therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, hand therapy and other specialty programs. Independence Rehabilitation offers outpatient physical therapy to patients with musculoskeletal limitations, specializing in therapeutic techniques based on manual therapy and exercise.

We provide the entire continuum of rehabilitation care at locations throughout the network, giving our therapists the opportunity to work in a variety of specialties and practice settings. 

Clinical Quality

Our department is CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited and has specialty credentialing in stroke rehabilitation, brain injury rehabilitation, and amputee rehabilitation.

At the Rehabilitation Hospital, more than 80% of our patients return to the community. This discharge-to-home rate is higher than the national average.

For three consecutive years, our patient satisfaction scores have been above the 90th percentile. We are proud of our quality measures and work tirelessly to improve them.

Growth, Education and Training

We offer multiple opportunities for continued learning and improvement. Our department is made up of staff therapists, a director, and five managers who are assisted by coordinators with both administrative and clinical roles.

Staff help guide the department's direction through participation in councils where they make both recommendations and decisions. Councils provide professional growth opportunities where staff can have an impact in areas they are passionate about. Many of our clinicians have stayed with us for more than eighteen years because of the diverse growth opportunities and career paths our department provides.

Growth and Outreach Council - This council is made up of staff interested in advocacy. Clinicians and clerical staff on the council organize our outreach efforts in the community, making arrangements and developing materials to be used at health fairs, church group presentations and other community events we are invited to attend. This team is actively working with the newly developing Miracle Field and on other sports opportunities to promote access for the community’s disabled citizens.

Student Coordination Council - This council is made up of staff passionate about teaching. The Student Coordination Council chooses which schools around the country we'll work with and determines our teaching approach. The council decides how many students we can take and ensures clinicians assigned to teach adhere to the highest quality standards.

Professional Development and Training - This council decides how we implement continuing education. They review the entire range of continuing education requests, ensure all our sites have needs assessments, and make budget and course decisions based on those assessments. They decide when we send people out for training and when we bring training in-house.

Clinical Ladder Council - This council works with clinicians who want to participate in Clinical Ladder projects.  About 20 therapists each year participate in the clinical ladder program, which involves doing a project to improve patient care in the department. Therapists receive a bonus from NHRMC each year they participate.  Rehabilitation nurses participate in the NHRMC Nursing Clinical Ladder process through Nursing Congress.

Practice Council - Clinicians on the Practice Council make technical decisions about how we practice as a group. They decide on techniques and how we handle different types of patients to ensure patients are treated consistently across different practice settings and locations.

Competency Council - These staff members determine the skill sets we need to acquire, and decide which skills require a demonstration, a test, or one-on-one training before performing it on patients.

Recognition and Celebration Council - This council is made up of cheerleaders who celebrate our successes as groups and individuals. When nurses get their CRRN, or an area is acknowledged for patient satisfaction, the Recognition and Celebration Council makes sure everyone is aware of the accomplishment.

Patient/Family Education Council - These council members ensure that staff have the tools and resources necessary to educate patients and caregivers on how to best optimize their health and the rehabilitation process.


Our therapists' orientation is customized for each individual based on their experience and skill level. Each new therapist is paired with a preceptor for training. They begin with a shared patient load and receive help and training where needed.

Rehabilitation3Therapists working in an area where they possess a strong skill set will be more independent, while therapists who need to develop stronger skills will receive more training. New graduates go through a 90-day orientation, and therapists receive excellent preparation through being exposed to a wide variety of practice settings and specialties.

Each clinician and their preceptor have a close relationship and their orientation is continually adjusted to meet their needs.

Our staff also have the opportunity to cross-train into different programs across NHRMC, which promotes teamwork and professional growth.

Our Culture

In Rehabilitation Services, we go the extra mile every day. Connecting with our patients on a personal level is very important, and we work hard to deliver patients and their families the kind of personalized care that makes a difference. For example, one of our techs discovered it was the birthday of a patient with post-stroke aphasia, so the tech bought a cake for the patient and organized a nice rendition of "Happy Birthday." The patient couldn't speak, but her eyes and the tear-filled eyes of her spouse told us how much the gesture meant. That's the "Rehab Way" at NHRMC.

At NHRMC Rehabilitation Services, we bring a positive outlook to our patient-centered care, focusing on what is possible rather than what is wrong. We provide individualized care to each patient, helping them achieve their full functional potential.

We love to hire people who share our passion for personalized, compassionate care focused on the unique healing needs of each patient. If you are a rehabilitation professional seeking a patient-focused, team-oriented environment, we invite you to apply to join the NHRMC Rehabilitation Services team.