Wondering what it’s like to work as a Rehabilitation Manager?

Here are a few Surprises, Challenges and Skill Set Recommendations.


You can also listen to the “From OT to Rehab Manager” podcast with Michelle here!

In a rehabilitation setting, leading clinicians are often targeted for management roles. Many skilled and effective clinicians see this opportunity as the next logical career move. But, are all OTs, SLPs and PTs ready or equipped for a management role?

Recently, I sat down with Michelle, OTR who recently accepted a Rehab Management position for a home health agency attached to a large metropolitan hospital system. I asked her:

  • What are the primary functions of your job?
  • What surprised you most about the job?
  • What was the most challenging part of the job?
  • What was the most rewarding part of the job?
  • What skill set is needed to be an effective rehabilitation manager?
  1. What are the primary functions as a rehab manager?

Michelle stated that her most important role is customer satisfaction. She is responsible for responding to customer complaints. Michelle makes sure patient care is initiated in a timely manner. She also maintains documentation workflows to ensure all documentation is complete and timely. She is also primary support for all staff needs and issues.

  1. What surprised you most about the position?

Michelle receives support from other managers but was surprised how “solo” the position was and how she was left on her own to make decisions. There was no rehab manager workbook for answers or guidelines. Instead she is constantly asking herself “how would I like a manager to handle this problem?” Michelle also reported the large scope of responsibility. For example, she is held accountable for staff productivity, customer satisfaction, customer service metrics, staff development, client and staff conflict resolution. The second aspect that surprised her was how much monitoring of documentation work flows took up her time.

  1. What was the most challenging part of the job?
See also  Is Home Health Rehabilitation For You? Why or Why not?

The most challenging part of Michelle’s job is solving staff issues such complaints and performance issues. Interruptions also add stress to her days. We’ve all been in the middle of an email and the phone would ring, or in Michelle’s case, a staff member would come into her office and just start a conversation. She would finish the conversation and think “What was I doing again?” Also, staffing shortages is an extra stress that is out of her control.

  1. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Michelle quickly responded by saying that it is solving an issue of a patient or a staff member. “I just love to be part of a successful solution to a problem or an issue.”

  1. What skill set would you recommend for a potential rehab manager role?

Michelle mentioned the candidate should be even keeled. So often you need to listen more before responding. You also need to be able to handle stress effectively, and have lifestyle strategies and support structures in place to handle the daily rigors of management. Be prepared to demonstrate self-control and recognize when you are taking things personally. Michelle recommended that demonstrating self-discipline is key. Namely to leave work at work, otherwise the manager role may leak over into evenings and weekends.

Hope this helps deciding whether or not you want to change your focus from clinical work to rehabilitation management.


Behind the Scenes of a New Rehab Manager was last modified: by



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