Jodi Tansky has been a registered nurse for 16 years, working in oncology (inpatient and outpatient), the intensive care unit, and the emergency room. Five years ago, she became interested in integrative and functional medicine, focusing on nutrition and health coaching. She has provided nutrition education at Cultivate Nutrition since 2017.
Jodi is a board-certified health and wellness nurse (HWNC-BC) who is passionate about nutrition education and integrating western and complementary medicine. She is a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine, National Association of Nutrition Professionals, Infusion Nurse Society, and Holistic Nurse Association. She holds a Bachelor’s in Nursing and will resume pursuing her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health once society is back to normal.
“It’s creating community, right? Part of the big piece of the Blue Zones is having that community. And I’m very saddened about how we maybe lost some community in this past year. However, I think some resilience in people has pushed them to different communities or different ways of connecting that they normally wouldn’t have done.” Jodi Tansky
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! This is Nicole Vienneau, your host, and today we are thrilled to invite Jody Tansky, who’s an Integrative Health Nurse who is the owner and founder of Elevate Wellness Center from Fairbanks, Alaska. Welcome, Jody.
Jodi Tansky 00:21
Thank you, Nicole, for having me.
Nicole Vienneau 00:22
So glad you are here so we can talk about all things Nurse Coaching, things we’re passionate about, and I feel like we’re having virtual tea from afar.
Jodi Tansky 00:32
Nicole Vienneau 00:34
We are. So, if you can maybe tell us a little bit about your background, how you got into Nursing, and what attracted you to this profession?
Jodi Tansky 00:43
I knew that I wanted to get into some type of healthcare since junior high. I was fortunate to experience a Nurse assistant program in high school, and despite some of the training that I wasn’t so sure of, being in a Nursing home, I knew that I wanted to help people. I always have.
And so, really, it was a no brainer for me. I loved the flexibility of being a Nurse and the possibility of traveling and doing many things as close to the bedside as you wanted to or as far away as you wanted to. There is always a role for Nursing.
Nicole Vienneau 01:21
Yeah, that’s definitely one thing I love about Nursing, too. There’s so many opportunities for us. And sometimes I feel like Nurses are a jack-of-all-trades. You put us into any role, and we can be successful in it.
Jodi Tansky 01:33
Yes, we are.
Nicole Vienneau 01:34
So how about Nurse Coaching? What attracted you to Nurse Coaching? And how did you find it?
Jodi Tansky 01:40
Yeah, I have to kind of count back now, I think maybe it’s been four… three or four years. So, there was a time in my life, I was– I’ve always worked critical care or ER– and I was working ER at that time, just had two babies, and was kind of feeling overwhelmed at that point. And also struggling with some health issues. I just knew one day that what I felt where healthcare was going was not what I wanted to do and not in line with my values.
And so, I had always been interested in nutrition and wellness, other different types of therapies, and went down the rabbit hole on the internet one day and typed in nutrition and Nursing. And the first thing that popped up was INCA’s having this great course at Kripalu, and I’d always wanted to go there. And so, I just, that really started my journey.
It was really a no-brainer, when I started to look into Barbara Dossey and Susan Luck, that this is where I needed to be. They are the creators, they wrote the book, and I just really felt that this was the program for me.
And I am so grateful that it found me, and I found it at the time, because I didn’t realize how much stress and my go, go, go lifestyle, adrenaline seeking lifestyle, was doing a disservice to my health. And it was thanks to Nurse Coaching that I really was taught the self-care principles that really help us be sustainable and be great Nurses.
Nicole Vienneau 03:21
I got chills when you were talking about all of that because I recall a time in my life, too, where I was an adrenaline seeking Nurse. Give me the sickest patients, the fastest environment, and I had no idea how much of a negative impact it had on my life until I started slowing down and realizing that there was much more.
And like you say, in Nurse Coaching, it teaches us the tools to slow down and find moments for self-care. Which then brings me to the next question of self-care, and what you think self-care is. Like, if you could create a definition of it for yourself, what would it mean?
Jodi Tansky 04:04
Yeah, this is a tricky one, because it’s evolved for me over time, and where I am at in my life right now, it is what I need at that time. I know that sounds really big and larger than what it is, but, if it’s a breath, if it’s holding space at that moment, for myself, if it is knowing in myself that I didn’t get enough sleep, I’m prioritizing that for that night.
Or, I need to eat vegetables today or drink more water or I need to do one of my self-care therapies that I have brought to our center. That’s, to me, just the knowing. The knowing in myself, the awareness piece that I need to do this for myself and then taking action on that, for sure.
What it is is that we’re all nourished by different things, you know? For some people it’s yoga, for me it’s running. For some people, it’s spending time with their loved ones. You know, for some people, it’s being alone, and that’s okay.
Nicole Vienneau 05:13
I love that. The part that really spoke to me was the knowing. Yes, the knowing in yourself. But then the choice to actually take action and doing the thing that you know would be of most value to you at that time.
So, is there anything that you love? I mean, you mentioned running, and are there any practices that you like, always make a point of doing, or anything that our listeners might be interested in?
Jodi Tansky 05:40
Honestly, right now, I have my first two levels of Reiki. And really just learning to ground myself has been the biggest piece. You know, finding connection to source, asking for help when I need it, meditation, prayer, whatever that is. That has been the biggest piece. I always start my day with it.
I get to work and also ask for whatever the healing energy is for me to help my clients that day, to help my staff. It really is just, it’s bigger than me. And that’s changed. Before, it used to be exercise. And now, it’s not, it’s grounding myself for the day.
Nicole Vienneau 06:20
And that evolution of yourself, and then your knowing, and your listening to yourself and your needs, that makes me feel very calm. Thank you.
So, tell us a little bit about Nurse Coaching. What you feel Nurse Coaching is and maybe some of the things you’re doing, within your practice, at Elevate Wellness Center.
Jodi Tansky 06:42
Nurse Coaching, for me, is pretty close to the definition, because I remember memorizing it for my board. It really is. I really embody it. It’s helping others realize their full potential. And that, for me, is the beauty. I get chills every time I say it. That’s why I love doing this every single day.
I have changed the way that I’m doing Nurse Coaching, air-quote, if you could say that. I just made the decision, after I got out of the Nurse Coaching program, that I have another passion for functional medicine or integrative medicine, however you want to put it. But I wanted to bring different healing therapies, along with using my wellness and Nurse Coaching skills, to bring about the space in my community to help people.
Because there is a gap, I feel, that is missing between conventional and then very naturopathic medicine in our space and giving the opportunity and the permission for people to practice both– and it’s not a one or the other in our community– has been tremendous. We’re very new and we’re just starting this new concept, but I’m very excited at the possibility that, you know, why couldn’t other Nurses start these spaces other where, you know, or collectively.
Yes, it’s nice to have a main practitioner, but we are practitioners ourselves and we have our own art and science and skill of doing things that can be very powerful for people.
Nicole Vienneau 08:06
Absolutely. And so, you took this on your own shoulders and said, I’m just going to open up this space. You live in Fairbanks, Alaska. So, tell us what inspired you, how this all came about.
Jodi Tansky 08:23
When I first started on that journey, left ER Nursing about five years ago, I had this utopia idea that, man, wouldn’t it be great to just have this one center, you know, that we could go and just get it all. And I was always searching for that.
And somehow, in my journey, I just always knew, like, I’m going to do that one day, you know? I’m going to bring forth those opportunities for people who, in our community, have to travel usually outside of the state to get, which is very expensive for them, and I wanted to bring that to people here.
And so, you know, it’s been piece by piece, it didn’t happen all overnight. And I certainly, honestly, didn’t happen to expect it to happen during COVID of all times, so that has been a trial. But I feel like something’s pushing me to get this through. It was very hard and also, yet, it was easy, if that makes sense. Something just really wanted this to happen. And so, it did. And I’m so grateful for it.
Nicole Vienneau 09:24
So, can you tell us, like, a day in the life of Jodi Tansky, Integrative Health Nurse? What she does at Elevate Wellness Center?
Jodi Tansky 09:34
Sure, that’s a great question. The one thing that I knew I needed to do– because I did do some Nurse Coaching, you know, and packages with some of the people in our community. And I have to be brutally honest about myself as I am a very ADD personality. I like doing multiple things at once, I get bored easily, and I just didn’t see sitting down doing one hour coaching sessions being a good fit for me.
I love it, I’m very passionate about it, but I said, you know, when people come in and talk to me about nutrition education, or they talk to me about some type of wellness therapy they’re interested in, I use those coaching moments every single time in those interactions that I see them.
And for some, when I began to realize and except that it’s okay to not have that one hour of sit down, there are people that want that, but then sometimes there’s people that don’t, and we can still take those opportunities to inspire and help them to realize their potential in that moment. It’s really like moments, it’s planting those little seeds along the way.
So, to get back to your question, a day in the life of me. So, I do IV nutrition therapy Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I do it part-time, because I still love the clinical aspect of it, I believe in it, it’s something that’s not available to a lot of our clients here in our community. And then the other times, I fill in doing wellness coaching. And so, I offer people opportunities, if they want it, to come in. I’m not very specific about what certain types.
But the latest thing that I’ve been doing a lot of, it’s called ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet. I’m very passionate about that, because there’s lots of science behind that from Valter Longo at USC. And they utilize coaches to help get people through the program and so that naturally into place, that people would come in, they would want these kits, and then they would want extra help to help them transition through this.
You know, as we all know, a coaching session can start out as, let’s say, wanting help with nutrition, but we dig deeper, and it’s usually other things.
And that has been really tremendous, I think, for some clients that come in feeling like they are going to get coaching advice for maybe weight loss, but then it really turns into more like relationship type of coaching or life coaching, as we all know how coaching takes turns like that.
So, I split up my time between coaching, I do a lot of administrative work, because I’m the owner, and helping coach staff. That’s another type of coaching that I have not anticipated and has come up. So, filling in and making a presence and being a mentor for staff that are looking into this type of therapies.
Many people come to me because they want to know and understand more about integrative medicine because it’s not available so much in our town. And they want to experience it and I want to help mentor them so they can go on to become practitioners and hopefully come back to our community.
Nicole Vienneau 12:41
In essence, you saw a need in your community, a deep need. People were having to go to other states to even come across something as integrative as you’re speaking about. So, you said hey, I’ll do this for the community. And here you are, you know, opening your own clinic, your own Wellness Center, I should call it, because it’s more than a clinic. It goes beyond.
Jodi Tansky 13:07
Yeah, I guess I should mention a couple of our therapies. And what I found is that sometimes people need a weigh-in, right? And so, I wanted to be able to offer that and I didn’t want a space that was dependent just solely on me because that’s not sustainable for myself nor the community. So, I honestly took my favorite therapies that I would go and explore when I would travel outside of the state.
So, we have two float tanks for floatation therapy. There’s a lot of great clinical information coming out on that, if you go to clinicalfloatation.org. There are infrared saunas, which I’m very passionate about, especially being in a cold climate.
I received training on microcurrent neurofeedback because we are a big hockey town. People or kids get a lot of head injuries. My nephew really prompted me in trying to get this technology, which has helped him tremendously. We do mild hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and then I do the IV nutrition. So, it’s quite an eclectic space.
And then, of course, I had to carve out a small little classroom and a teaching kitchen because that’s my end goal, is I love teaching small group classes, teaching people how to cook, what food is, how to fuel your body for health and for longevity, really are my passions.
Nicole Vienneau 14:21
Wow, next time I’m coming to Fairbanks, I’m coming to see you guys. Which, of course, you know I would anyways, just to see you. It sounds amazing.
So, can you tell us maybe a little bit of maybe some of your opportunities? Maybe touch on just one or two and how you overcame those.
Jodi Tansky 14:41
Barriers in my life? Or getting to, I guess, where we’re at?
Nicole Vienneau 14:45
Either, or. Because all of this is, of course, as we listen to your story, I mean, it’s amazing to understand more about you and then the transition to taking this big leap.
Jodi Tansky 14:56
Okay, the first big challenge was believing myself. Believing that I am ready and able, and I am competent to do that. Because somehow, somewhere in my life, a seed got planted in my head, whether it was Nursing school or somewhere else, that training, training, training, certifications, education– another fellow Nurse Coach that I went to the program with, she’s always joking with me about what other certification I get– but I realized, like, that was my way of like… I had to prove to somebody.
And then someone had to just tell me, say, “Jodi, you’re enough, you’re enough. People are gonna come to see you in your energy and what you’re going to deliver and serve to them and that’s okay.”
And once I really believed, like, really wholehearted believed that, that’s when everything became, honestly, easy. You have that confidence, and people do, they want to come to see me, and it’s really great and brilliant.
And now I’m trying to figure out how to get other people and lift other people up so they can also be the person that someone else wants to come and see at my space. And so that, by far, it’s just that knowing piece and belief in yourself. Because anybody’s capable, you don’t need, you know, initials behind your name to prove that you can do something.
Nicole Vienneau 16:20
Absolutely. And I’m sure that that belief in yourself then extends to the people that you meet on a daily basis. And them believing in themselves and just that constant energetic flow of giving and receiving in that positive space.
Jodi Tansky 16:38
It is. It’s a very energy driven type of space. One of the first things, you know, I’ve learned a lot, especially in hiring people, if they don’t have that same energy, how are my clients going to feel when they walk in the door, right? You want to be welcomed, loved, no matter where you are at in that day or time in your life, and to be felt needed and loved and that they’re going to be helped, you know, no matter where they’re at in their life.
Nicole Vienneau 17:10
The first image that came to mind is Cheers. Remember that sitcom? Where everybody knows your name!
Jodi Tansky 17:18
I do! I love that!
Nicole Vienneau 17:20
Yeah, that you belong somewhere. You feel like you belong.
Jodi Tansky 17:23
It’s creating community, right? Part of the big piece of the Blue Zones is having that community. And I’m very saddened about how we maybe lost some community in this past year. However, I think some resilience in people has pushed them to different communities or different ways of connecting that they normally wouldn’t have done.
I know there’s a small group that comes here and they start to know each other when they’re doing their infusions and they’re helping each other out. And it’s not just me coaching and giving individually, but they’re coaching each other, creating community. And it’s so beautiful! That’s why I love groups. It’s just so amazing! It’s their own support system that they’re creating. It’s wonderful to see.
Nicole Vienneau 18:09
Oh, yeah, and the power of groups. I mean, just the shared experience and the humaneness of each other. And support, of course, support. That worked for Sally, maybe it’s gonna work for me!
Jodi Tansky 18:19
It is! Or they’ll inspire each other, they’ll tell their stories about how ProLon really helped them get their energy and sleep better. And they’re like, “Huh, I might try that!” And it’s like, “Yeah, why not? What have you got to lose?” You know? Try it, see what happens!
Nicole Vienneau 18:38
Experiment on yourself! But for the good, right? Because when you’re talking about food and… Sounds wonderful. And I can imagine the space itself, I mean, the physical space. You’ve probably designed with, you know, the healing intentions and colors. I can see the color behind you, it’s a beautiful green.
Jodi Tansky 18:55
Yeah, that is a very interesting story. I was at a nutrition conference and I learned about the practice of Vastu. It’s an Indian architecture, energy medicine. And a practitioner helped me kind of design kind of the energy space behind that. I was very drawn to that for some reason. So, he really kind of helped me put those pieces in together.
Nicole Vienneau 19:18
The energy goes beyond just the humaneness, I mean, in our spaces. I think of optimal healing environments and all of that kind of stuff, the science to support that. I love how you’re pulling all of these pieces into this practice, and how you’re utilizing Nurse Coaching and just everyday occurrences and it’s amazing, amazing to hear.
So, where do you see the big picture of Nurse Coaching leading to?
Jodi Tansky 19:45
I have a very strong hope that Nurse Coaching will be the future of Nursing. I think it’s bringing back some humanism, if that makes sense, to Nursing. It’s hard because I’m trying to remember how I was, as a Nurse, in the institution and it’s changed greatly because I’m so far out of it right now, but I see my peers that, still, I used to work with.
I hope that the teachings of Nurse Coaching will spread more into teaching institutions and other Nurses are provided with the opportunity to learn more about self-care and healing from within so they can heal others. I think with the big movement with health coaches and a lot of the, maybe, some of the confusion that a lot of people have, you know, one thing that I love is that people still turn to Nurses.
Nurses are still one of the number one top trusted occupations in our country and, wow, if a Nurse is doing these things and encouraging these practices and doing that, I just couldn’t imagine how we couldn’t impact more of our society into better health practices that will, in turn, hopefully change medicine.
It’s going to take time, change always does. It doesn’t happen overnight. But I really hope that we start to infiltrate in all these little areas. Nurse Coaches everywhere. And I love that INCA’s beginning to connect people because it’s hard. We get into a groove of doing our own thing. And it’s also good to reach back and to help support other Nurse Coaches in what they’re doing.
Nicole Vienneau 21:34
Yes, we are stronger together, for sure.
Jodi Tansky 21:37
Nicole Vienneau 21:38
Before we share how we reach you and find you, is there anything else that you’d like to share or tell us?
Jodi Tansky 21:44
I would just encourage anybody who is listening to really… everybody is going to come to that point in their life where they’re going to try to figure out what they’re truly passionate about and what they love to do.
I always joke with my kids because they say, “Oh you have to work again.” I go, “No, I don’t have to work, I love going here, I could be here all day.” It’s not work to me because I love it and I enjoy it and it’s my passion.
And if we can help people and Nurses figure out what that is and how it can be sustainable and make a living doing that, that’s going to be the best, you know? There really is no worry for that, so, explore. Keep exploring these areas. Figure out what you do love to do and what’s going to fill your passion because it’s totally worth it.
Nicole Vienneau 22:34
Words of wisdom by Jodi Tansky. Thanks so much, Jodi, because those are very inspiring words.
So how can we find you? How can our listeners find you or work with you or come visit you in Fairbanks, Alaska?
Jodi Tansky 22:48
The best place to go is to our website. It’s www.elevatewellnessak.com. And you’ll kind of get a little sense for what we do on there and hopefully I have a bio on there, I think. It’s tough managing your website, and everything else going on, but that is the best way. And people are always more than welcome to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole Vienneau 23:16
Awesome. Thank you so much, Jodi. We’re going to have all your information in our show notes. And I’m so thankful and so inspired by what you’re doing and what you’ve chosen to do and all the things that you’re doing to elevate people’s wellness. I mean, it’s amazing. So, thanks so much for being here today.
Jodi Tansky 23:35
Thank you, Nicole.
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