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10 Pros and Cons of Being a Sports Medicine Nurse + Steps to Become + Salary


Written By: Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN

Do you love sports and helping people? If so, a career in sports medicine nursing may be perfect for you! Being a sports medicine nurse is a challenging but rewarding career. It is an excellent option for nurses who want to work with athletes and people who wish to lead an active lifestyle to help them recover from and prevent injuries.

As with every job, there are pros and cons to consider when you are trying to decide if this is the right career for you. Do you know what are the pros and cons of being a sports medicine nurse? Let's take a look at the good and the bad. Here are the top 10 pros and cons of being a sports medicine nurse. Let us know which side of the fence you fall on!


What Does A Sports Medicine Nurse Do?


So, what does a sports medicine nurse do? A sports medicine nurse is a registered nurse who has specialized training in the care of athletes and other active individuals. Sports medicine nurses work with athletes and active individuals of all levels, from recreational to professional. The main goal of a sports medicine nurse is to prevent and treat injuries. They work with individuals who are experiencing musculoskeletal injuries such as muscle strains, torn ligaments, dislocations, joint strains, and bone fractures. They also work with people who have chronic health conditions that affect their ability to be active, such as arthritis.

You will also find sports medicine nurses preparing patients for surgery working in the hospital setting. They also help the surgeon during the procedure and monitor the patient in the post-operative period. They will also ensure the patient is educated about the recovery process and prepare the patient for discharge.

Sports medicine nurses are often a part of a sports medicine team that includes other healthcare providers such as athletic trainers, physicians, and physical therapists. The team works together to assess and treat injuries and develop injury prevention programs.

The scope of practice for sports medicine nurses includes assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, and education. They may also be involved in research.


Where Does A Sports Medicine Nurse Work?


As a sports medicine nurse, you can work in various settings. The sports medicine nurse can be the perfect guide for those looking to get in top physical condition. They may work at fitness centers, providing medical advice that is more advanced than what general trainers could offer- they assess injuries and make recommendations on lifestyle as well exercise routines tailored just for you!

The goal of a corporate wellness center is to maintain health and minimize medical bills. As a sports medicine nurse, you could work for either a company's wellness programs or HMOs. Here your task includes preventing illness by keeping people healthy as well as limiting expenses related to their treatments down the line if they become necessary (which hopefully will not happen).

Sports teams regularly hire sports medicine nurses because they must take care of their players on the road as well provide them with medical support when needed during games and practices (or other events). Sports medicine nurses with experience and credentials in sports medicine can be found working at physical rehabilitation facilities, orthopedics offices, and hospitals. You may find a sports medicine nurse in other places of employment such as in schools and colleges. They can also be found at gyms.


What Are The Typical Working Hours Of A Sports Medicine Nurse?


The typical work hours for a sports medicine nurse will depend on the type of environment that they work in. If you work in the hospital setting, you will most likely work ten to twelve-hour days, three to four days a week.

If you work in the outpatient setting, you may work five days a week, eight-hour days. You may also find yourself working four ten-hour shifts. If you work with a sports team, your hours will vary depending on when the team is training and playing games. You will not have set hours in this setting.


What Are The Most Important Skills Required To Work As A Sports Medicine Nurse?


When one is thinking about becoming a sports medicine nurse, it is essential to ensure that you have the skills to succeed in this profession. There are many different skills required for this type of nursing.

You will need to have excellent communication skills. As a sports medicine nurse, you will be working with patients who have a variety of different injuries and needs. It is vital that you can communicate effectively with these patients to help them understand their diagnosis and the best course of treatment.

You must also have excellent organizational skills. This is because you will be responsible for keeping track of many different patient files and medical records. If you are not organized, it will be challenging to keep up with the demands of this job.

Another critical skill that you will need is the ability to work well under pressure. This is because you will often be working in a fast-paced environment where time is of the essence. You need to be able to remain calm and collected in these situations so that you can provide the best possible care for your patients.

Another essential skill that you will need to have is the ability to work well as part of a team. This is because you will be working closely with other medical professionals, such as doctors and physical therapists. It is crucial that you are able to communicate effectively with them so that you can provide the best possible care for your patients.

If you have these skills, then you should consider a career in sports medicine. It is a rewarding field where you can make a difference in the lives of those who need your help.


How Much Does A Sports Medicine Nurse Make?


As a sports medicine nurse, you can expect to command a good living. The average sports medicine nurse's salary is $100,086. This will break down to $48.12 an hour or $8,340 a month.

In the world of nursing, you will see an increase in your salary as your experience increases. For example, the entry-level salary for a sports medicine nurse is $32.12 an hour or $5,570 a month. This will be an annual salary of $66,810. If you have anywhere from one to four years of experience, you can expect an hourly wage of $37.06. This hourly wage will be $6,420 a month or $77,090 a year. A sports medicine nurse with five to nine years of experience will earn an annual salary of $94,230. This is a monthly income of $7,850 or $45.30 an hour.

Ten to nineteen years of experience will have you earning an annual salary of $117,070, which is $9,760 a month. This will break down to an hourly rate of $56.28. A sports medicine nurse with twenty or more years of experience will enjoy an annual salary of $145,390. You will be earning $69.90 an hour or $12,120 a month.

Level of Experience HourlyMonthlyAnnual
Entry-Level $32.12$5,570$66,810
1-4 Years of Experience $37.06$6,420$77,090
5-9 Years of Experience $45.30$7,850$94,230
10-19 Years of Experience $56.28$9,760$117,070
20 Years or More Experience $69.90$12,120$145,390
Average Salary$48.12$8,340$100,086


Is There A Demand For Sports Medicine Nurses?


When deciding on becoming a sports medicine nurse, you will want to ensure that there is a demand for the career. Sports medicine nurses are in high demand due to the increasing popularity of sports and exercise.

There are many reasons why there is a demand for sports medicine nurses. One reason is that the number of people participating in sports and other physical activities has increased over the years. This has led to a corresponding increase in the number of injuries that occur each year. As a result, there is a need for more healthcare professionals who are skilled in treating sports-related injuries.

Another reason why there is a demand for sports medicine nurses is that the population is aging. People are more likely to experience age-related health problems, such as arthritis, as people age. Sports medicine nurses are often able to provide care and treatment for these types of conditions.

Finally, there is a growing trend in the general population towards healthy living. This means that more people are interested in participating in activities that will improve their health and well-being. Sports medicine nurses can play a pivotal role in helping people to adopt healthy lifestyles. They can provide education and support to help people make positive changes in their lives. In addition, sports medicine nurses can help people to find the resources they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


6 Steps To Becoming A Sports Medicine Nurse


1. The first step to becoming a sports medicine nurse is to become a nurse. There are two paths you can choose. One is an associate's degree in nursing, and the other is a bachelor's degree in nursing. Keep in mind that a bachelor’s degree in nursing is preferred. If you earn your associate's degree in nursing, you should strongly consider furthering your education and earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

2. Next, you will need to pass the National Certification Licensure Exam (NCLEX)

3. You must then apply for your state license with the state you plan on practicing in

4. To qualify for sports medicine nurse roles, you will be required to have at least three years of experience in orthopedic nursing. Other ways to gain this experience are through clinics taking care of patients recovering from musculoskeletal surgeries or treating patients with bone fractures.

5. You may also want to consider earning your Orthopedic Nursing Certification from the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board.

6. If you genuinely want to be ahead of the curve, you should also strongly consider eventually becoming a nurse practitioner specializing in orthopedics. Being a nurse practitioner will make you even more versatile.



TOP CONS OF BEING A SPORTS MEDICINE NURSE


(The following are the top 10 disadvantages of being a Sports Medicine Nurse.)

1. You will need to consider earning your bachelor’s degree from the get-go

One of the cons of being a sports medicine nurse is that you may have to consider getting your bachelor's degree from the get-go. This is a big-time commitment and can be expensive. Although you can work with an associate's degree in nursing, you may find that your career growth potential is limited without a bachelor's degree in nursing.

2. You will need to gain at least three years of experience prior to starting your career.

If you are looking to enter the field of sports medicine nursing, be prepared to gain at least three years of experience working in the nursing field, specifically orthopedics, prior to starting your career. This is because sports medicine nursing requires a high level of knowledge and skill in order to provide care to athletes and other patients. This means that your ultimate goal will be put on hold for a few years while you gain the necessary experience.

3. You may have to travel for work.

One of the top cons of being a sports medicine nurse is that you may have to travel for work. This means that you will be away from your family and friends for long periods, and you may miss out on important events or holidays. This can make you feel isolated and lonely. If you love spending time with your family and friends, this may not be your career.

4. You may have to put in long hours.

As a sports medicine nurse, you may find yourself working long hours. This concept is especially true if you work in team sports. You will need to be available from the time their practice starts until the game ends. This may be a twelve-plus-hour endeavor. You never know when an injury may arrive.

5. You may have irregular hours.

Another one of the disadvantages of being a sports medicine nurse is that your hours may be irregular. You may have to work long hours, weekends, and holidays. This can be a problem if you have family or other commitments.

Working irregular hours can also lead to feelings of isolation. You may not be able to spend as much time with friends and family as you would like. This can be a tough adjustment, primarily if you are used to a more traditional work schedule. This is especially true if you work with professional athletes. I do not know about you, but I feel like football and Thanksgiving go hand in hand.

6. You may need an advanced degree to be considered for the top jobs

In the world of sports medicine nursing, having a bachelor's degree in nursing may not always cut it when you want the top positions. Many employers prefer candidates who have an advanced degree, such as a master's degree or doctorate. If you are interested in pursuing a career in sports medicine nursing, you may need to consider getting an advanced degree.

7. You may feel a tremendous amount of pressure.

One of the cons of being a sports medicine nurse is that you may feel tremendous pressure. Your job will be different every day. This will keep you on your toes. You will need to work quickly and efficiently when an injury occurs. You will have no way of predicting what injuries will be coming your way. This can be a stressful job. If you do not like feeling pressured, this might not be the right career.

8. Conflict may arise on and off the field.

When you are a sports medicine nurse who works with sports teams, conflicts may not only arise on the field with the players but also off the field between you and the coaches. If you are caring for an athlete who has sustained an injury and you feel like he/she should rest but the coaches may have other thoughts and may try to go against your clinical judgment. This can create quite a tension at times between all parties involved!

9. This career may not be exciting as you thought.

One of the biggest disadvantages of being a sports medicine nurse is that it is not always an exciting career. You may find yourself working with patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis. You also may not have the opportunity to work with elite athletes.

You may also find that a majority of your work will focus on the prevention of injury. This can be anything from giving educational presentations to creating programs that help reduce the risk of injury.

10. Not everyone is going to get to work for a professional team

As a sports medicine nurse, you may not get a job working with an elite sports team. For some people, this is not what they have dreamed of. Taking a job working in a rehab center was not on their radar. This may make you feel like you have failed in some way.



TOP PROS OF BEING A SPORTS MEDICINE NURSE


(The following are the top 10 advantages of being a Sports Medicine Nurse.)

1. You can earn an excellent living.

One of the biggest advantages of being a sports medicine nurse is that you can earn an excellent living. With the proper training and experience, you can easily find a well-paying job in this field.

Having a career that pays you well will afford you many opportunities and options in life, including the ability to travel, buy a home, send your children to college, and live a comfortable lifestyle. If you are passionate about helping people and working in the medical field, then being a sports medicine nurse may be the perfect career for you.

2. You can travel with work.

To some, the idea of traveling for work is negative, whereas to others, it is such a great benefit. As a sports medicine nurse, you will often have the opportunity to travel with teams to their away games. This can be a great way to see new places while getting paid to do something you love. If you are the type of person who loves to travel, working as a sports medicine nurse is the perfect job.

3. You may get to mingle with a professional team.

One of the top pros of being a sports medicine nurse is that you may get to mingle with a professional team. If you are working with a sports team, you will be able to meet some of the top athletes in the country. You will also see them in action and learn about their training regimens. It is a great way to network and learn more about the sports world.

4. You can help those in their time of need.

As a sports medicine nurse, you can help those in their time of need. You can provide them with the care and attention they need to recover from their injuries and get back to their activities as soon as possible. You can also help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place by providing education and guidance on proper safety precautions.

5. You may be able to prevent long-lasting injury in a person

As a sports medicine nurse, you may be able to prevent long-lasting injury in a person. By providing care and support to patients, you can help them stay healthy and injury-free. You are the first line of defense against permanent damage. So, keep up the excellent work!

6. You can choose the setting you want to work in

Another one of the pros of being a sports medicine nurse is that you can choose the setting you want to work in. You are not limited to working in a hospital or a clinic. You can also work in a sports medicine facility, an orthopedic office, or even a physical therapy office. That means that you can find a job that fits your lifestyle and your interests.

You can also work in corporate settings, in gyms, and for insurance companies. The thing about being a sports medicine nurse is that there is always a niche you can fit into. That is pretty great.

7. You may be able to get summers off.

As a sports medicine nurse, you will have the option to work in the school setting if you choose. You will be working with the schools’ sports teams. This means that you will be following the school calendar and may be able to get some of the summers off while being paid for it.

8. You can choose the age group you want to work with

Since sports medicine is so versatile, you can essentially choose which type of population you want to work in. Maybe you like school-age children, or perhaps college athletes appeal to you more. You might want to try working with the geriatric population. The possibilities are endless. You can tailor this career to fit what you are looking for and what will truly make you happy.

9. Your days will keep you on your toes.

Another one of the advantages of being a sports medicine nurse is that your days will never be boring. You will always be kept on your toes, so to speak. There will always be something new and exciting happening, which means that you will never get bored with your job. This is a considerable advantage, especially when compared to other nursing jobs that can often be quite monotonous.

10. Sports medicine is a great career for networking.

Sports medicine nursing is a great career for networking. You will have many opportunities to meet people and build relationships. These relationships can help you advance in your career and provide you with valuable contacts. You will also have the chance to work with a variety of people, including athletes, coaches, and trainers. This job can be gratifying and exciting. If you are interested in a career in sports medicine nursing, then you should definitely consider networking as a pro.



BREAKING DOWN THE SALARY OF A SPORTS MEDICINE NURSE


What Is The Starting Salary Of A Sports Medicine Nurse?


The starting salary of a sports medicine nurse is $32.12 an hour. This will be a weekly earning of $1,285 or a monthly earning of $5,570. You will have an annual salary of $66,810.

Hourly$32.12
Weekly $1,285
Monthly$5,570
Annual$66,810


What Is The Average Salary Of A Sports Medicine Nurse?


The average sports medicine nurse's salary per year is $100,086. This annual average wage will break down to an hourly rate of $48.12 an hour or a weekly income of $1,925. This means you will be earning $8,340 a month. Not too bad if you ask me.

Hourly$48.12
Weekly $1,925
Monthly$8,340
Annual$100,086
(Source: Ziprecruiter.com)


Sports Medicine Nurse Salary By State


There is always one constant when it comes to sports medicine nursing: not all salaries are created equal across every state. In Alabama, you will be earning an annual average income of $75,340. Let’s now compare that to California. In California, you will be earning an average yearly income of $150,810. What is astonishing about this is the fact that you will be performing the same job in Alabama that you will be in California for a drastically lower salary.

State Hourly Monthly Annual
Alabama $36.22 $6,280 $75,340
Alaska $57.30 $9,930 $119,180
Arizona $48.34 $8,380 $100,550
Arkansas $38.27 $6,630 $79,610
California $72.50 $12,570 $150,810
Colorado $46.83 $8,120 $97,400
Connecticut $51.03 $8,850 $106,140
Delaware $44.70 $7,750 $92,980
Florida $41.80 $7,250 $86,950
Georgia $43.00 $7,450 $89,450
Hawaii $63.04 $10,930 $131,130
Idaho $43.09 $7,470 $89,620
Illinois $44.84 $7,770 $93,270
Indiana $40.59 $7,040 $84,420
Iowa $37.63 $6,520 $78,270
Kansas $38.61 $6,690 $80,310
Kentucky $38.93 $6,750 $80,970
Louisiana $40.90 $7,090 $85,070
Maine $42.73 $7,410 $88,870
Maryland $49.07 $8,510 $102,060
Massachusetts $57.88 $10,030 $120,400
Michigan $44.49 $7,710 $92,540
Minnesota $48.69 $8,440 $101,270
Mississippi $36.84 $6,390 $76,620
Missouri $39.63 $6,870 $82,440
Montana $42.42 $7,350 $88,230
Nebraska $41.78 $7,240 $86,910
Nevada $53.98 $9,360 $112,270
New Hampshire $45.69 $7,920 $95,030
New Jersey $51.55 $8,940 $107,230
New Mexico $45.52 $7,890 $94,690
New York $53.98 $9,360 $112,280
North Carolina $41.47 $7,190 $86,250
North Dakota $41.88 $7,260 $87,100
Ohio $41.95 $7,270 $87,250
Oklahoma $40.05 $6,940 $83,310
Oregon $57.88 $10,030 $120,380
Pennsylvania $44.61 $7,730 $92,780
Rhode Island $49.79 $8,630 $103,560
South Carolina $40.38 $7,000 $83,990
South Dakota $36.66 $6,360 $76,260
Tennessee $38.56 $6,680 $80,210
Texas $46.19 $8,010 $96,070
Utah $42.32 $7,340 $88,030
Vermont $43.38 $7,520 $90,240
Virginia $44.73 $7,750 $93,040
Washington $54.91 $9,520 $114,220
West Virginia $39.17 $6,790 $81,470
Wisconsin $44.96 $7,790 $93,520
Wyoming $43.66 $7,570 $90,820



HIGHEST PAID SPORTS MEDICINE NURSES


What Are The 10 Highest Paying States For Sports Medicine Nurses?


California will have you earning the highest salary as a sports medicine nurse topping out at $150,810. Hawaii is not that far behind, with an average annual salary of $131,130. Massachusetts and Oregon will have you earning an average yearly salary of around $120,000. Alaska, Washington, New York, and Nevada are in the range of $112,000 to $119,000. New Jersey and Connecticut will conclude the ten highest paying states for sports medicine nurses with an average annual income in the low $100,000.

Rank State Average
Annual Salary
1 California $150,810
2 Hawaii $131,130
3 Massachusetts $120,400
4 Oregon $120,380
5 Alaska $119,180
6 Washington $114,220
7 New York $112,280
8 Nevada $112,270
9 New Jersey $107,230
10 Connecticut $106,140


What Are The 10 Highest Paying Metros For Sports Medicine Nurses?


As previously discussed, California is the highest paying state for sports medicine nurses. There are, however, ten highest paying metros for sports medicine nurses within California. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, is the highest-paid metro. Here you will be earning $186,640 a year. In Redding, CA, you will be earning $139,930 a year, which will round out the top ten.

Rank Metro Average
Annual Salary
1 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $186,640
2 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $183,720
3 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $177,810
4 Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $168,060
5 Salinas, CA $165,320
6 Santa Rosa, CA $156,160
7 Modesto, CA $151,470
8 Stockton-Lodi, CA $144,930
9 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $141,500
10 Redding, CA $139,930



Top Organizations And Associations For Sports Medicine Nurses


National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses: NAON is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that enhances the lives and careers of orthopedic nurses. This organization was formed in 1980 by 4 women eager to improve their profession. Its purpose is "to promote high standards" by educating its practitioners about how they could provide safer patient care through better communication skills or research projects involving patients' needs.

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine: In 1991, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed to fill a void in sports medicine that had existed since its early days. The founders realized there were no forums specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians. Through education and sharing of knowledge, AMSSM hopes to not only will we advance this discipline but also provide a better support system so those who suffer can get back on their feet again!


My Final Thoughts


So, there you have it, the top 10 pros and cons of being a sports medicine nurse. It is up to you now to decide if this is the right career choice for you. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons of being a sports medicine nurse, and ask many questions before making any decisions. And if you are still on the fence after reading this article, be sure to check out our other career-focused articles for more information on different careers in the nursing world. Thanks for reading!


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. Is Sports Medicine Nursing A Good Career?

Yes, a career as a sports medicine nurse is a great career. You can make a great living, have a flexible schedule, and travel the country with professional athletes if you are lucky enough.


2. On Average, How Much Does A Sports Medicine Nurse Make Per Hour?

The average sports medicine nurse's salary per hour is $48.12. So, depending on how many hours you work, you can earn a great living.

$48.12


3. How Many Hours Does A Week Does A Sports Medicine Nurse Work?

As a sports medicine nurse, the hours you work in a week will be dependent on the type of setting you are to work in. In the inpatient setting, you may find that you will be working ten to twelve hours, three to four days a week.

In the outpatient setting, you may find yourself working eight to ten-hour shifts four to five days a week. Now, if you work with sports teams, you will be working when they have practices and games.


4. Is Being A Sports Medicine Nurse Stressful?

Being a sports medicine nurse can be stressful at times. Stress can stem from one of your patients having a very severe injury or not recovering the way they should. Although being a sports medicine nurse may be a stressful job at times, you will have the knowledge and training to deal with these situations.


5. Do I Need To Be Certified To Work As A Sports Medicine Nurse?

You do not need to be certified to be a sports medicine nurse.


6. What Certifications Are Required Or Recommended For A Sports Medicine Nurse?

Although it is not required, being certified as an orthopedic nurse is recommended. You will be viewed as an expert in the field, and you will be highly appealing to potential employers.


7. How Long Does It Take To Become A Sports Medicine Nurse?

The length of time it takes to become a sports medicine nurse will depend on the path that you choose in terms of your nursing education. If you decide to pursue an associate's degree, you will need at least five years to become a sports medicine nurse because you will need three years of experience. Suppose you choose the path of earning your bachelor's degree. In that case, you are looking at about seven years to become a sports medicine nurse once you complete your experience.


8. How Much Does It Cost To Become A Sports Medicine Nurse?

The cost of a degree is dependent on the type. An associate's degree in nursing can be as low priced at $3,000-$10k, but if you go to a private institution, it could range from 40k-80K. A bachelor's will set someone back anywhere between 80 -100 grand.


9. What Kind Of Career Advancement Opportunities Are There For Sports Medicine Nurses?

When you decide to become a sports medicine nurse, one of the best decisions you can make for yourself is advancing your career. By becoming a nurse practitioner specializing in orthopedics, you can excel in this profession. This is because you are incredibly marketable since you are first and foremost a nurse as well as an advanced provider.


10. Can Sports Medicine Nurses Work For Professional Sports Teams?

Yes, a sports medicine nurse can work for professional sports teams. You would be able to tour from place to place with the team and take care of any of the players that need medical attention.


11. How Do I Become A Sports Medicine Nurse Practitioner?

If you wish to become a sports medicine nurse practitioner, you will first need to have earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. You will then need to become a nurse practitioner. Becoming a nurse practitioner will require that you earn a master’s degree. A degree as a Family Nurse practitioner would be the most beneficial. You should then gain experience as an orthopedic nurse practitioner.


Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN
Jennifer Schlette is a registered nurse in pediatric critical care in New York City. She is the former Director of Undergraduate Nursing at a college located in New York. After obtaining her BSN from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, she went on to complete her MSN.