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Published on: 05-Jan-2024

In the realm of sports, the role of sports medicine nurses stands pivotal, ensuring that athletes recover from accidents swiftly, without long-term repercussions. These specialized professionals are crucial in treating, preventing, and recovering sports-related injuries and earn $38.62 per hour on average. Let’s discuss how you can become a sports medical nurse to support athletes at every stage of their training and competition.

How to Become a Sports Medicine Nurse 

Sports medicine nurses assess injuries, educate athletes on preventive measures, and meticulously aid recovery. They primarily specialize in orthopedics and have completed a sports medicine fellowship.

 Educational Requirements

To become a sports medicine nurse, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. After obtaining a practical nursing diploma, you can earn a nursing associate degree and become a registered nurse (RN) in two years. You can opt for accelerated online BSN programs if you have another bachelor’s degree.

In addition to on-campus training, ambitious sports medicine nurses now have the option to pursue a pre-nursing associate degree entirely online. This flexible pathway accommodates those looking to balance their education with hands-on experience in sports medicine, facilitating a quicker transition into this specialized field.

Get Experience

Sports medicine nurses require a minimum of three years of experience. To gain experience, you can work as an orthopedic nurse or in clinics treating patients with bone fractures or looking after those recovering from musculoskeletal surgeries.  

Another option is a sports medicine fellowship, a one-year accredited program that helps nurses develop expertise in sports programs through specialized training on sports-related injuries, hands-on clinical experience, and networking opportunities. 

Ensure You Have the Necessary Skill Set

You need in-depth knowledge of sports-related injuries, including understanding the biomechanics of athletic movements and the specific injuries common in various sports. You must also be able to handle crises swiftly due to the pressing nature of sports-related injuries: you’ll have to handle things vigilantly in high-pressure environments, like live matches, and if you don’t deal with the injuries properly, they can have long-term repercussions on players who can even lose their careers. 

Other skills you need are being tech-savvy, having good time management and problem-solving skills, high-stress tolerance, and professionalism. Sports medicine nurses must work with trainers, doctors, and other sports stakeholders to make a treatment and management plan and be good at teamwork. 

Role in Sports Training and Recovery

Let’s explore the various tasks and responsibilities of sports medicine nurses.

Assess an Athlete’s Physical Condition 

Sports medicine nurses mainly assess and treat the following: 

  • Abrasions and lacerations 
  • Bone fractures and dislocation
  • Sprains and strains, such as ankles or hamstring
  • Achilles tendon injury
  • Knee injuries, such as ACL (anterior curate ligament) tears
  • Inflammation of fluid sacs

By working with a medical team, you’ll ensure the athletes receive the best care, such as helping doctors provide care for musculoskeletal injuries, assisting with wound dressing and castings, preparing athletes for surgeries, offering first aid during sporting events, and more. 

Help with Prevention 

Nurses also educate athletes on proper injury prevention, a first line of defense against accidents and injuries, such as what protective gear to wear, appropriate warm-up exercises, and what necessary precautions sports players should take in their daily lives.  They will help create a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercises, flexibility, and strength training. 

As a sports nurse, you will also guide players on how to maintain their diet properly, so they receive balanced nutrition and can avoid serious health problems. You may also have to design personalized counseling for players and their families, emphasizing the importance of adhering to safety guidelines and wearing proper gear. 

Aid Recovery 

You will monitor their recovery for optimal health care delivery as a nurse. You will

  • Keep track of their progress
  • Do regular check-ins and observations
  • Record their vital signs
  • Tailor care delivery to meet individual needs
  • Track the efficiency of rehab procedures and treatment 
  • Offer post-surgery plans 
  • Prescribe medication according to agreement with a sports medicine doctor
  • Handle pain management schedule by monitoring allergies and medication reactions. 
  • Assist in improving strength and mobility after musculoskeletal problems

Final Thoughts

The invaluable role of sports medicine nurses extends far beyond injury treatment, encompassing preventive education, diligent recovery monitoring, and personalized care. Their expertise ensures athletes receive comprehensive support, from injury assessment to tailored recovery plans, optimizing performance and well-being. If you aim to become one, make sure to polish all the relevant skills and take comprehensive training programs so you can ensure the well-being of athletes for a long time to come.

The post The Role of a Sports Medicine Nurse in Sports Training and Recovery appeared first on Sports Medicine Weekly By Dr. Brian Cole.