Nurse Coaching Through a Nursing Lens

The Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching

The roots of nurse coaching began with the legacy of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), and her words continue to inspire us today (Dossey, 2010; NIGH, n.d.). The Nurse Coach role and nurse coaching are a fundamental part of nursing practice.

The American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), and 19 other professional nursing organizations have officially recognized the Nurse Coach role, and in 2013, the ANA published The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching:The Provider’s Guide to Coaching Scope and Competencies (Hess et al., 2013).

Written by six members of the AHNA, this book defines and explains the Nurse Coach role within the context of the ANA’s Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition (ANA, 2010). In addition, the Nurse Coach role also integrates the Holistic Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2nd Edition (AHNA & ANA, 2013).

The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC, n.d.) has also recognized nurse coaching through a Nurse Coach Certification process that began in 2013. With the growing role of nurse coaching, holistic nurses are challenged to explore integrative health and wellness coaching through our nursing lens.

Nurse Coaching Questions

What nursing theories guide your nurse coaching practice?

How do you describe the role of Nurse Coach and integrative nurse coaching to clients and other nurses or interprofessional colleagues?

The International Nurse Coach Association (INCA, n.d.) was established in 2010 to explore these questions and further expand the Nurse Coach leadership role and voice. The Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching was developed as the organizational framework for INCA’s 96-hour Integrative Nurse Coach® Certificate Program. Below is a brief overview of the supporting theory and Integrative Nurse Coaching.


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Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, HWNC-BC, is an internationally recognized integrative, holistic nursing pioneer, a nurse theorist (Theory of Integral Nursing; co-author, Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching), and Florence Nightingale Scholar. She is Co-Director, International Nurse Coach Association (INCA) and Core Faculty, Integrative Nurse Coach® Certificate Program (INCCP), Miami, Florida; International Co-Director, Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH); and Director of Holistic Nursing Consultants (HNC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has authored or co-authored 25 books including Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice (7th ed., 2016); Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing (2015); The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching: The Provider’s Guide for Coaching Scope and Competencies (2013); Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer (2010, Commemorative Edition). She is a founding member of the American Holistic Nurses Association and Holistic Nurse of the Year. She is an 11-time recipient of the prestigious American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award, and has received many other awards. Barbara is also on the ANA’s Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation™ Grand Challenge Advisory Board.

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