I would like to pursue a career in fitness nursing. Is that a viable field?

By | 2022-02-11T16:03:51-05:00 May 26th, 2010|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I am an RN, BSN. For the last one and a half years, I have worked in a continuing care/rehab center. I mainly work with D/C planning and PT education. Prior to this, I was out of the clinical environment for about 10 years.

In the last two years, I have become certified as a personal trainer (ACSM) and worked limited part-time hours in that field in a health club. I would like your advice on pursuing the field of nursing/fitness/health maintenance/prevention.

ACSM and ACE offer a Health Fitness professional certification with home study and online testing. ACSM also offers materials for members to use to develop a relationship with the medical field. I would like to develop my fitness education further and use my nursing/fitness background in doctor’s offices to incorporate fitness/wellness into office visits.

I am not sure how this would be reimbursed. Are insurance companies moving toward covering preventive services? I am mot in a position financially at this point to pursue an MSN – ANP, but could afford to take additional fitness courses/certifications and am considering nursing certification in geriatrics.

My community college offers an AAS in health and wellness, which I was considering pursuing. My ultimate goal would be to work with the 50 and older population on the preventive side of the wellness continuum, but I need some advice on how to pursue this with limited expense at this time. I would even be willing to change/add a second part-time position in an area that would help me pursue my goals.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Kathy,

Fitness nursing is a growing specialty. Additionally, there is an ever-enlarging 50+ population who is motivated to stay active, healthy, and well. So you are on the right track! Visit the website of the newly formed National Association of Fitness Nurses at http://www.fitnessnursing.org/. Speak with Lori Radcliffe, the founder. Tell her Dear Donna referred you.

Insurance companies are paying more and more for preventative services and even reimbursing people for their health club memberships. Likewise, many hospital systems now have their own fitness centers offering specialized programs for seniors, those with disabilities, etc. I don’t know that any are reimbursing individuals for this type of coaching but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be the first!

By all means continue your fitness education. The organizations you mention above have some good programs. There’s no need to get an advanced degree or to become an NP to excel in this field. Here’s an article you may find interesting: http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008302260012.

You should also look into eventually becoming self-employed by becoming a fitness/wellness coach for folks over 50. Consider attending my “How to Start Your Own Business or Consulting Practice” seminar in the future. See where I’ll be next at

Good luck!


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