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How and Why Hospitals Are Recognizing Integrative Nurse Coaching

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In the past few years, nurses have faced unprecedented challenges. Staff shortages, the emotional toll of working during a pandemic, and compensation struggles are just some of the factors that have contributed to a more complicated, demanding environment for nurses. 

It’s no wonder, then, that more than one-third of nurses say they plan to leave the field by the end of 2022. As a response to high burnout and attrition rates, we’ve seen great discussion on how nurses can increase their resilience. This is an important starting point, but we’re still facing a bigger challenge: reimagining the healthcare system. After all, when you’re working in a broken system, your own personal resilience can only go so far. 

Our Individual Resilience Can’t Erase Moral Injury

In a recent interview with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Wendy Dean, MD discussed the relationship between resilience and moral injury. She notes that nurses often face moral injury, that is, recognizing a need, but being unable to act on or fulfill that need due to system constraints outside one’s personal control. 

That inability to act often goes against not only our personal beliefs as nurses but also the nursing code of ethics. Moral injury can be amplified when we as nurses feel betrayed by the same system that’s meant to protect and promote the health of our patients. And this betrayal goes against the core of our nursing practice: caring. 

At the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, we often see nurses who are deeply committed to delivering high-quality care, but they’ve also fought hard for everything they needed to fulfill that promise. They’re exhausted, frustrated, and feeling helpless. They may have developed distrust in leadership, knowing that decisions get made without shared governance, and without their best interests in mind. 

If this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone. Maybe you, too, are seeking new beginnings, considering retirement, or ready to leave the profession. 

So the question remains: How do we foster individual resilience for nurses–and fix the healthcare industry to avoid chronic moral injury at the same time? Both require a planned, focused journey. 

 

The Role of Integrative Nurse Coaches in Reimagining the Healthcare System

Integrative nurse coaching has emerged as a proven framework to re-energize nurses and to help hospitals recognize nurses as valuable members of the healthcare team. A recent qualitative study of Integrative Nurse Coach™ Certificate Program graduates revealed four key themes:  

Development of self
Enriched self-care
A call-to-action for facilitating the healthcare paradigm shift
Incorporating Integrative Nurse Coaching into practice

The study highlights what most of us in the profession already instinctively know: nurses are very interested in propelling a transformation in healthcare. They want to contribute to a healthcare system that’s focused on health promotion and well-being. Furthermore, nurses’ education, training, and experience all make them uniquely qualified to act as essential leaders in this transformation. 

 

How Hospitals Are Recognizing Integrative Nurse Coaching

More healthcare organizations have moved to incorporate Integrative Nurse Coaching as a professional practice model, which is built on a theoretical foundation, such as the Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching, and the six common components: 

Leadership
Nurses’ independent and collaborative practice
Environment
Nurse development and reward
Research and innovation
Patient outcomes

Integrative Nurse Coaching as a professional practice model might appear in different ways. For example, healthcare organizations might introduce concepts of Integrative Nurse Coaching during new-hire orientation. They may also have board-certified nurse coaches on the hospital floors as preceptors and managers, where they can mentor other nurses, integrate nurse coach skills into practice, and encourage self-development. 

The result? A win-win-win for nurses, patients, and healthcare organizations:

Improved nurse satisfaction, along with reduced attrition rates (especially at the 24-month mark) 
Improved patient outcomes. It’s a win-win-win for healthcare organizations, nurses, and patients. 
Support for the Magnet Journey; the ANCC Practice Accreditation Program with new nurse residencies; and the RN & APRN fellowships to transition experienced nurses to master new clinical skills programs

Aligning Integrative Nurse Coach practice will create a shared purpose and vision for health & wellness promotion across the organization and heal our nursing profession.

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