If you love fitness and want to complete a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program, a career that combines both may interest you. Fitness or sports nursing is a relatively new and developing field, gradually becoming an accepted nursing specialty. RNs are increasingly finding jobs that combine their knowledge of exercise and their medical skills. As a fitness nurse, you may work with athletes, companies and their employees, cardiac patients or health club members.
The Role of Fitness Nursing
According to Indeed, "Fitness nursing combines nursing practices and medical knowledge with personal fitness training." It may integrate physical training, wellness, rehabilitation and disease prevention. Fitness nurses help patients or clients live a healthy lifestyle by developing an exercise routine and a nutrition plan.
Employment in Fitness Nursing
The field of fitness nursing is still in its early stages, so jobs in the field are not always specifically titled "fitness nurse." However, with increasing demand for fitness nursing, nurses can work in these types of roles for corporations, hospitals, surgical recovery centers or spas; they may also find employment in cardiac rehabilitation or sports medicine. Some nurses have even started their own health coaching businesses. They guide clients through the processes of quitting smoking, losing weight or managing stress. They can also help clients design exercise regimens.
Fitness Nursing and Cardiac Rehabilitation
For patients who have suffered a heart attack or other cardiac event, physical fitness is critical to improving and maintaining their health. Cardiac rehab nurses teach patients how to exercise safely while monitoring their vital signs; they also educate patients about healthy diets and stress reduction, and they partner with physical therapists and nutritionists to improve patients' overall quality of life. Nurses who work in a cardiac rehab program generally must have Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.
Fitness Nursing in Sports Medicine
Sports medicine covers a broad array of nursing specialties. Nurses who want to work in this type of medicine should be in good physical shape and have experience as an athlete or know about sports conditioning and injuries. Nursing jobs in sports medicine are often available in the following environments:
- Professional sports centers
- Universities and colleges
- Fitness clubs
- National and international sporting competitions
Working in Sports Medicine
Nurses have a variety of employment opportunities in sports medicine, which includes the following specialized fields:
- Radiology nursing
- Rehabilitation nursing
- Pediatric sports medicine
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy nursing
Bone and breathing injuries are common problems for athletes. Radiology nursing uses medical imaging like MRIs, CT and PET scans, and ultrasonography to diagnose those conditions.
Rehabilitation nursing deals with all types of patients — not exclusively athletes. Patients regain their strength and range of motion under the guidance of nurses and physical therapists.
Nurses employed in pediatric sports medicine are part of a team of healthcare professionals who administer care to pediatric patients who may seek medical assistance due to injuries or disease.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy facilities provide special medical services to professional athletes. Often, these athletes are older or retired with severe injuries. Patients inhale pure oxygen under elevated pressure in a hyperbaric chamber. This treatment is used to promote healing.
Sports medicine nursing can also be a financially rewarding field. ZipRecruiter reports that sports medicine nurses make an average annual salary of $102,929 as of June, 2022.
Why Is Fitness Important to Overall Health?
Fitness is a result of exercise. Exercise can consist of a daily regimen of physical activities like walking, biking, running or lifting weights. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity include the following:
- Weight management
- Disease prevention
- Mental health
- Boosting energy
- Improving sleep
Physical activity burns calories, which prevents weight gain and sustains weight loss. Being active increases the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and lowers the amount of unhealthy triglycerides. This reduces your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Other benefits include preventing stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis and some cancers.
When you exercise, the brain releases chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. You may also gain confidence and improve your self-esteem. Routine exercise strengthens your muscles, increases endurance and helps you achieve restful sleep.
Earn a BSN Online
BSN-prepared nurses are well positioned to begin a career in fitness nursing. The University of Texas at Arlington's College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers an accelerated RN to BSN online degree program, designed to help RNs advance their knowledge, skills and qualifications.
You will take technology-enhanced courses online and participate in clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state under the supervision of UTA faculty. The online format does not rely on traditional, semester-based schedules, so you can complete the program without interrupting your existing personal and professional obligations.
Earning a BSN also prepares fitness nurses to pursue the graduate-level education needed to become a nurse practitioner. This can open up advanced job opportunities related to fitness nursing, such as becoming a sports medicine nurse practitioner. The field of fitness nursing is not only fascinating in its integrative focus on nursing and physical well-being; it can provide nurses with captivating and rewarding opportunities for career advancement.
Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington online RN to BSN program
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