It is becoming more common to see professional credentials that include the designations “RN, CMT.” Apparently, many members of the nursing profession have taken the initiative to receive formal massage training and become certified as massage therapists.
I spend a good deal of time participating in nursing forum discussions and I have noticed a marked increase in the number of discussions focused on massage therapy as an additional discipline for nurses.
So what would prompt a registered nurse, that is in such demand that he or she could nearly name their own salary, take on the additional challenge of attending massage school? An informal analysis of a variety of comments by nurses interested in massage reveals a good deal about both professions.
Shortage of Nurses
Nurses today face a variety of issues. Due to the chronic shortage of nurses, qualified RNs are aggressively recruited and well compensated. But the same shortage has resulted in working conditions that are quite demanding and very stressful. The ratio of patients to nurses keeps getting larger and the required overtime can be profitable but exhausting. As a result, many nurses experience burnout and leave the profession.
Other nurses express frustration with the inability to provide the level of care to seriously ill patients that they feel qualified to provide. Many doctors have little respect for the contribution of nurses and this dismissive attitude towards the primary caregiver in a hospital environment angers and demoralizes many nurses who know they are capable of providing a level of care the will significantly impact the health of individual patients.
Turning to Massage
While some nurses opt to become nurse practitioners to allow for more active involvement in patient care, others prefer a more hands-on approach. Elise Sorenson, formerly an R.N. at a busy Midwest medical center, is now operating her own massage therapy practice. “I loved being a nurse,” says Elise as she prepares for a day of appointments with a growing list of clients. “But it got to the point where I was just treating patients, not people. There was no time to really get involved with individuals and feel like I was making a contribution.”
Elise had been receiving massages from a qualified therapist on a regular basis for almost 2 years before she began giving serious thought to becoming a therapist herself. “I had always found massage to be very helpful with stress reduction but I also felt that it addressed both specific physical conditions and overall health. The more I investigated massage as a profession the more convinced I became that it was something I really wanted to do.”
Elise received her certification after completing her training at an accredited massage school. “It was a slow go at first but I really believe that my experience as a nurse along with my massage training helped me provide a unique level of insight into both diagnosis and treatment. I have had more than one client mention that the ‘R.N.’ after my name gave them an increased level of confidence in my abilities.”
While some nurses make a decision to leave the healthcare industry altogether, others are finding methods, like becoming a massage therapist, to make a more satisfying contribution to the health and well being of others.
About the Author
J. Terrence McDermott is the administrator of Massage Schools Guide at http://www.massageschoolsguide.com, a website offering resources for prospective massage therapists. He also specializes in the nursing profession and administers a blog at Travel Nurse Notes.