Inspiring Hope in Our Rehabilitation Patients, Their Families, and Ourselves


  • Donald Kautz PhD RN CNRN CRRN-A

    Assistant Professor of Nursing, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Donald Kautz, PhD RN CNRN CRRN-A, is an assistant professor of nursing at the University of North Carolina- Greensboro School of Nursing, Adult Health Department.

308 Moore Building, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402, or


When confronted with a devastating disability or chronic illness, rehabilitation nurses play a key role in inspiring hope for patients and their families. This article examines strategies nurses can implement in everyday practice: creating an environment of hope in a rehabilitation unit; assisting patients to manage their negative feelings about their disability; relieving chronic neuropathic pain; sustaining patient relationships with staff and family; helping patients to forgive themselves and others; enhancing patient intimacy with others; using literature to promote hope; acknowledging a patient's belief that nothing is impossible; using humor therapeutically; and maintaining hope for the moment. It is the moment—the time we spend with our patients—that is essential. In that moment, we are promoting hope.