What is a Nurse Coach?
The term Nurse Coach is a Nursing role to describe a Registered Nurse who has devoted additional time, energy and investment into obtaining extra training, education, and practice in developing the skills and presence to provide holistic and scientific-based health and wellness coaching, beyond their original Nursing school training.
Nurse Coaches offer a transformative approach to health and wellness, focusing on empowering clients to take charge of their health, enhancing health resilience, and c0-creating an individualized path to wholeness.
Partnering with a Nurse Health Coach fosters a professional relationship that nurtures and inspires, guiding clients towards a life lived fully, vibrantly, and healthily.
With a unique skill set that combines clinical expertise with holistic wellness practices, a nurse coach is equipped to bring about lasting change in clients’ lives, and by extension, the community at large.
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the role of a nurse coach stands as a beacon of transformation. Far from being confined to the four walls of a hospital, the modern nurse health and wellness coach is a versatile professional who can be found in a myriad of settings, from corporate wellness programs to private practices.
A Distinct Breed of Nurse
Nurse Health Coaches are completely focused on enhancing the health and well-being of their clients, patients and communities. They deeply listen to uncover the stories unique to their clients, and then use these stories, along with their unique life experiences, to co-create a sustainable wellness plan to fully support and honor their client’s health.
TELLING CLIENTS WHAT TO DO DOESN’T WORK
Nurse Health Coaches have learned that telling clients what to do doesn’t work. Instead, they take into account all that has transpired in their client’s life, along with their future hopes and dreams, to establish a true partnership to help them uncover and voice what is important to them. This opens up possibility for clients to take action as they live their lives to the fullest!
Credentialing, Verification, and Board Certification Examinations
In many cases, Nurse Health Coaches take an additional step, and obtain Nurse Coach Board Certification (NC-BC) after passing significant credentialing verification and board examination(s). This prestigious credential then requires continuing nursing education courses to ensure that the coach stays current with the latest research and practices.
The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation’s exams are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) and are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Program.
All Nurse Health Coaches who obtain this board certification are highly dedicated to the rigorous process of professional standards, ethical practice and devotion to their craft and have hundreds of training hours. This equals expert care provided to clients as a healthcare consumer, patient, community or business that chooses to partner with a Nurse Health Coach.
Why is this important?
A client’s personal health (and that of their community) is their vitality! Time and important focus must be placed on enhancing health, mitigating disease and taking ownership of health and wholeness. Health resilience is imperative to life satisfaction, and focusing on health and well-being (instead of disease) is the key to maintaining resilience.
“At it’s core, resilience embodies a vision of healthy individuals and thriving communities, and a resilience-centered framework provides concrete actions people, organizations, and institutions can take to promote the sustainable and long-term well-being of communities in the face of adversity and disaster.”
— Wulff, Donato, & Lurie, 2015
INNATE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
Professional nurse health coaches are devoted to the art of caring and the science of nursing. They are uniquely positioned to provide a distinct set of health and wellness coaching skills because they are committed to incorporating nursing, medical, healthcare wisdom into all coaching interactions. They believe that even in illness, one can find a new meaning of health and thrive in it, through all stages of life.
Innate knowledge and experience positions Nurse Coaches beyond general health and wellness coaches, as they truly understand the healthcare space and the absolute value of the holistic, whole-person approach necessary to navigate through medical systems and health-related challenges.
When a client partners with a board certified Nurse Coach who is dedicated to professional standards, the client is engaging in a dynamic relationship aimed at transforming their health. It’s not just about treating symptoms; it’s about understanding the whole person and empowering the client to take control of their personalized health and wellness journey.
PERSONALIZED HEALTH & WELLNESS JOURNEY
Nurse Coaches don’t just provide information; they facilitate a client’s self-discovery, encourage a client’s self-responsibility, and assist in creating personalized health strategies that align with their client’s unique needs, preferences, and goals. They are there to guide, support, and inspire as the client makes pivotal choices that lead regarding their health and wellbeing.
With a combination of their traditional medical training, nurse coaches bring a holistic perspective that considers the individual physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual factors influencing a client’s health. By fusing diverse disciplines, nurse coaches offer an approach that goes beyond the textbook.
Health Reimagined: Holistic Nurse Coaching
Holistic wellness isn’t just a buzzword for Nurse Health Coaches; it’s an operational mantra. By understanding a client’s values and personal context, a Holistic Nurse Coach facilitates a clients health journey and makes it not just manageable, but also personal and empowering.
They ensure the client is not just a patient, but an active participant and leader in their unique and transformational journey to health and wellbeing. It’s healthcare reimagined, and the client is in the driver’s seat.
Where to find a Nurse Coach
Hospitals and Clinical Settings
Traditionally, nurse health coaches have been an integral part of hospital settings, particularly in chronic care management. Their role often involves guiding patients through complex medical jargons, treatment plans, and lifestyle modifications. But what sets them apart is their holistic approach. They don’t just manage symptoms; they look at the patient as a whole—mind, body, and spirit.
As healthcare shifts towards a more personalized approach, many nurse coaches are establishing their own practices. Here, they offer one-on-one sessions, group coaching, and even virtual consultations. These sessions often focus on lifestyle changes, stress management, and health and wellness education.
Corporate Wellness Programs
Companies are increasingly recognizing the value of employee health and well-being. Nurse coaches often work in corporate settings to administer wellness programs, conduct health assessments, and offer educational seminars. It’s a win-win situation: healthier employees and lower healthcare costs for the employer.
With their specialized training in evidence-based and mind-body-spirit wellness techniques, nurse health coaches are a perfect fit for academic environments. They not only teach but also develop curricula for nursing schools, focusing on integrative care models that go beyond the traditional.
Community Health Centers
Nurse coaches play a significant role in community health, offering their expertise in public health campaigns, preventive care programs, and health awareness workshops. Their work often targets underserved populations, aiming to reduce health disparities.
Some nurse health coaches choose to specialize further. For instance, functional medicine nurse coaches apply principles of functional medicine to identify root causes of illnesses rather than just treating symptoms.
So, where does a nurse coach work? The real question is, where don’t they?
How to Find a Nurse Coach
- Ask for a Nurse Coach at a healthcare provider appointment
- Sign up for Free Nurse Coaching Sessions with an Integrative Nurse Coach® Student
- Ask an insurance company
- Ask a place of work to hire a Nurse Coach for worksite wellness
- Google the search terms, ‘Nurse Coach in my area’
- Contact the INCA
- Ask a human resources department to partner with a Nurse Coach for employee health
Already a Nurse and want to become a Nurse Health Coach?
After two decades as an Intensive Care Nurse caring for the sickest of patients, Nicole left the one-size fits all healthcare industry, and created Blue Monarch Health, where she is; Active Aging Specialist, Health Protection Expert and Head Motivator! Instead of waiting for you to get sick, she meets you where you live, work and play, to enhance your health and vitality.
Nicole listens deeply, and takes you by the hand to co-create a health and vitality plan with you, so you can really do it in your life. She is an authentic, heart-centered stick of dynamite, who focuses your energies, builds up your strengths, and leverages your unique gifts!
Nicole Vienneau achieved a Master’s in Nursing Science from the University of Arizona, a board certification in Integrative Nurse Coaching from the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, and is Senior Faculty with the Integrative Nurse Coach® Academy. She is a Functional Aging Specialist, personal trainer, yoga teacher, and group fitness instructor and a retired Reebok-sponsored Fitness Athlete. When she’s not coaching clients or writing blogs, or hosting the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast, you can find her teaching active older adult fitness classes, volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association, lounging in the sun with her cat babies, or on a hike with her awesome husband.