Transitioning Out of Imposter Syndrome as a Novice Nurse Coach

Ever feel like you are posing as someone who knows what they are doing… when inside you feel you have no idea? Let’s define imposter syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which individuals doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Despite evidence of competence, those experiencing this syndrome remain convinced that they don’t deserve their success and that others will eventually uncover their supposed inadequacy.

While a person can experience various forms of Imposter Syndrome, such as projecting confidence externally while feeling insecure internally, or grappling with incongruent circumstances, what causes imposter syndrome and its manifestations in the field of nurse coaching are particularly distinct.

In this context, Imposter Syndrome may manifest when a nurse coach feels unqualified or fears that their lack of experience will be exposed. Even working within a healing profession like nursing, where they have been trained to provide help, they may still doubt their ability to truly assist a client. These complex emotions can create a challenging internal struggle for nurse coaches.

Many of these nurse coach imposter syndrome feelings can occur when transitioning into a new role or after acquiring new skills, leading to a lack of confidence, undue self-criticism, and psychological stress.

Understanding and recognizing its presence is the first step to overcoming imposter syndrome, and the strategies outlined in this post can help nurse coaches navigate these complex emotions and build a more authentic and confident practice.

A Personal Reflection on Nurse Imposter Syndrome

I have a photo of myself taken on one of my 50’s birthdays that reflects joy, surprise, and excitement, yet on the inside none of it was true. (Imposter syndrome!)


Either I’m an extremely great actor, in which my talents have been squandered, or I am like everyone else, I hide emotions that are difficult and don’t always honor myself in a way that is nourishing.

Don’t we all tend to put faces on that don’t represent ourselves at times? I would bet that everyone says yes! How is it that we come into the world fresh, clean, and untainted by the need to hide?

It is a question I have been pondering quite a lot lately, and more specifically recently after a work retreat.

Maybe you’re coming out of a professional learning experience or having acquired some new skills, but have little experience? Whichever position you find yourself in, there are some key strategies to implement to make the transition out of Imposter Syndrome easier.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome: Key Strategies for Nurse Coaches

Identifying Your Strengths: Building Confidence in Nurse Coaching

Take an inventory of your strengths. What skills or talents began to shine as you were learning new skills? Write down two or three. Once you have listed them, which ones are comfortable and easier to use? How can you utilize those skills to increase your confidence and credibility?

Nurse Coach Board Certification may also help increase your confidence a novice nurse coach. Connecting with mentors and peers during the certification process can further enhance your support network, making you feel more empowered and capable in your role as a nurse coach.

Embracing Continuous Learning: Developing Leadership and Entrepreneurial Skills

Continue to implement the learning mindset established while developing your new skills. Pick an area that you would like to learn more about and continue learning and deepening your skills. Perhaps you are interested in developing your leadership skills or entrepreneurial skills? Where can you find resources, groups, or collaborations to enhance your area of interest?

In Nurse Coaching, alumni resources are often available to graduates, as well as social media groups to join. Consider asking your fellow colleagues who have these skills to mentor you or share their resources.

Accepting Novice Nurse Coach Status

Remember it is okay to be a novice. Each new experience will build upon your current skills and create a unique journey for you.

Facing Failures and Challenges: Growth Through Imperfection

Accept there will be failures and challenges. Letting go of the perfectionist mindset and allowing yourself to be new at something will open new possibilities for growth. It can feel uncomfortable, foreign, and scary at first, but ultimately will lead to better outcomes and less self-sabotage coping behaviors.

Embrace Your Novice Phase: Starting the Next Step in Your Nursing Career

Build a network of support! Find one or two people who know you well and that you trust to share with when you are feeling like a fraud.Volunteer on committees, in organizations, or for community events to grow your skills and show others you are open to sharing what you have learned.

Self-Reflection and Progress Tracking: A Weekly Journaling Practice

Keep a reflective journal and once a week review your progress. List what went well and what is one aspect of your work that you would like to improve. As a Nurse Coach, AHNCC Core Value 5 encourages Nurse Coaches to use self-reflection, self-evaluation, and enlist other Nurse Coaches to evaluate performance.

Prioritizing Self-Care: Maintaining Balance and Nurturing Growth

Make your self-care a priority. Continuing to use the techniques and tools you learned, for instance, in the Integrative Nurse Coach® Certificate Program will provide nurturing and important insights for the present situation. Balance the demands of your new position with the healthy habits and interventions learned during your professional development. Trust the process!

Celebrating Success: Acknowledge Achievements in Your Nurse Coaching Journey

Lastly, it took a lot of energy, time, resources, and fortitude to begin and complete, therefore celebrate what you have learned, how you changed in the process, what new connections you have made, and what you are hoping for as you begin the next step!

Bask in the glory! Bear witness to yourself as you begin the next steps.

You are only a novice for a short time!

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Holly Kapusinski is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Integrative Nurse Coach® with a passion for nurturing children and families. With a background in healthcare and a focus on nutrition and alternative healing, she established Life Cycle Balance LLC to promote holistic wellness. Her expertise extends to stress management, brain health, and non-violent communication. Holly's dedication to community extends to volunteering and leading wellness seminars. She dreams of creating a wellness center and authoring a book on healing from trauma as a Nurse Coach. Her interests include languages, cycling, hiking, and exploring new horizons.

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