Do you really need to go back to school?

  1. I have been researching some as I am interested in massage therapy and am already an RN. It just seemed to make sense to me that with an RN license you can also provide/ practice massage, that it is within a nurse's scope of practice already. I do understand that maybe a seminar needs to be taken or a brief course of some proportion/self study, but I did not feel it made sense to go back to school for 9 months to a year, and pay 5-10k for massage school, if my nursing license covers massage. I ran into this article from the American Nurses Association here is the link:

    It is called "Complimentary Therapy". I also read through the Nursing Entrepreneur board and it was of opinion of some of the nurses there that massage was indeed within a nurses scope of practice and stated as such on there State Boards' website. I would like to hear others thoughts and opinions.

    P.s I live in Indiana and it is not yet require to have a license or be certified to practice as a massage therapist, that will take affect in 2009, and those practicing before hand will be grandfathered in.
  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   massageRN
    From my research and understanding , Indianas licensure is to take effect in january of 2009. grandfather clause usually require you to be an established practioner which usually means at least 3-5 years of practicing massage therapy. As an RN i thought the same until doing the research. The school and experience was all worth it. This is not just a rubby dubby job we're doing here and require some extensive knowledge base in anatomy and knowing(memorizing) all the 650 muscles , their insertion points and their attachments. which is not fully covered in nursing school. Also not covered was the ethics, business practices and techniques for specific sports injuries and contraindications to massage. In Illinois we may not need a license and it is within our scope of practice but per state requirement for the safety of all we are required to still have minimum 500 hours of education in massage therapy. Will anyone hire you or take you seriously as a massage therapist without that massage therapy license- sorry no. That is the purpose of the licensure. National certification is even better. for more info follow your chapter from AMTA(American massage therapy association) or for more info on national certification. Also required are continuing education credits yearly to maintain your license but I won't get into that in this forum. Good Luck and go to school! There is never an easy way out unless you win the lottery and even then you have to pay tax.

    here is an additional article pertaining to Indiana massage license
    Last edit by massageRN on Jun 16, '08 : Reason: addition of website referral
  4. by   zenman
    Yes, you really need to go back to school. My style, Zen Shiatsu, is definately not covered in nursing school. A few years ago when I was in Texas, we could practice under our nursing license ONLY if you were trained in the modality. Other states require you get a massage license.
  5. by   lilravi4
    I am a LPN and decided to go back for Massage Therapy, and unfortunately you do have to go back to school to practice massage therapy. I believe it has to be at least a 500 hr Massage Therapy program to be considered a Nurse Massage Therapist according to Massage Therapy has its own State Board division.

    The National Exam for Massage Therapy and Bodywork is now required by most states not all and the Exam is a completely different ball park than nursing, your knowledge of muscles their origin insertion and actions in a must.

    In my opinion its worth it, I'm actually considering working full time as a L.M.T. Its so relaxing and stress free!

    Good Luck,
  6. by   TristleRN
    I think it depends on what you want to do. Your state's practice act probably has a stipulation that you can limitedly provide massage within your scope of practice. It does not mean you can hang that plaque outside your door, though. There is a *BIG* difference. There are other professions that can limitedly provide massage, but it's still not the same as a licensed massage therapist. I am an RN who went to massage school (a 1000-hour program) and I learned so much. There are rules that must be followed and you can actually hurt someone if you don't understand those rules. I do wish you the best. I hope you let us know what you decide to do.
  7. by   sethmctenn
    In TN, nurses can practice massage "as part of their normal professional practice." This has been interpreted by the massage board as meaning that a nurse cannot hang out a shingle and start doing therapeutic massage but can only do so as part of a broader nursing practice. They actually have gone after nurses for practicing massage without a license.
    I'd check with the nursing board and massage boards to verify the rules in your state.
    Beyond legality, yes, you I'd go back to school for massage. I started as an LMT years before nursing. Still love both
  8. by   NiaMalikaLMT
    I am currently a licensed massage therapist in the state of Illinois pursing my Associates Degree in Nursing . I have been practicing massage therapy for 5+ years and have found that I can reach far more ppl by obtaining my RN . The reason I am saying that one should enroll in an accreditated school of massage so that you can become reaquainted with the anatomy and become familiar with other modalities of massage besides the basic gliding , kneading or, picking up strokes . You will also learn which modalities to use in particular patient situations and why they would be used , and how they would be effective .
  9. by   amant
    The idea that a nurse is not capable of giving a medically sound, therapeutic healing massage is ridiculous. I am terribly sorry, but after having had a vary thorough A&P training in nursing school and many years of practice, a 200 or 300 hr. course in medical massage should be sufficient. There is absolutely no comparison to a licensed NURSE massage therapist and a person who is just a massage therapist with a license.
    I am horrified to hear nurses sell themselves short. If you believe you need to go back to school and spend thousands of more dollars for massage school after becoming a nurse, maybe you should reconsider nursing.

    I give therapeutic Medical Massage by doctors orders every day. I have a certificate in Medical Massage that required 250 hrs.
    A nurse only needs the order of the patients PCP!
  10. by   mtsteelhorse
    amant, where did you receive training in medical massage???