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  • Ep6: A Nurse Coach, the Jack of All Trades: Immacula Jean-Charles, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, RN
integrative nurse coaches in action

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION

Ep6: A Nurse Coach, the Jack of All Trades: Immacula Jean-Charles, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, RN

Podcast Highlights

jack of all trades word clud

Immacula Jean-Charles, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, RN Highlights

“As Nurses, we’re just such jack of all trades.  Hey! Hello, I’m a Nurse {Coach}, I have all this knowledge, I can help you achieve whatever goal it is that you need to achieve. I am here to support you in achieving those goals and I can help you in any capacity.”  Immacula Jean-Charles

  • Nurses are the Jack of All Trades.  Nurses have incredible skills, knowledge, passion, intuition, innovation, and integrity and can excel in any area they choose to be in.
  • Burnout and fatigue in nursing are rampant and may Nurses consider leaving the profession because of it.  It’s not because they are not passionate about the work.  Instead, they become burned out with the hours, the stress, the emotional drain.
  • Nurse Coaching helps a Nurse slow down, to breathe and focus on the present.  It helps one discover what really matters and to discover what one is passionate about in Nursing, so they stay in the Nursing profession.
  • Nurse Coaches use all these skills to support patients, clients, communities, and fellow healthcare practitioners achieve whatever goal they want.
  • Nurse Coaches can work anywhere!  Nurse Coaches can work in hospital settings at the bedside, during care and preparing for discharge.  In care co-ordination so the patient’s voice is heard. Doctors’ offices, corporate environments, community settings, schools, universities, everywhere, even in the government.
  • Nurse Coaches are the in-between. We have the knowledge, and we have the caring personality to come in and help them to connect, and help them to understand, and help them to express, and help them to create their own plans, and how they’re going to take the doctor’s suggestions.

Immacula Jean-Charles

MSN, APN, FNP-BC, RN

Advance Practice Nurse and Family Nurse Practitioner in NY and NJ

Immacula Jean-Charles brings a significant and diverse bed of knowledge to the nurse coach role, with 10 years of patient care experience as a healthcare provider. She has worked in multiple settings from in-patient Telemetry, Acute care rehab and ICU, to homecare, to primary care and now urgent care, where she refined her skills at diagnosing and treating illnesses and individuals from infants to the elderly.

Prior to working in healthcare, Ms. Jean-Charles obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Advertising and Marketing communications from The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and held positions at MWW Group and Kaplow, working on brands such as Samsung, Sam Adams, Time Warner Center and Skype. She also held multiple sales and customer services positions at companies such as Ann Taylor Loft, The Body Shop and Victoria’s Secret.

Podcast Transcript

Immacula Jean-Charles, MSN, APN, FNP-BC, RN Transcript

Nicole Vienneau

Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in Action. This is Nicole Vienneau, your host, and today I am so excited to invite Immacula Jean Charles, Family Nurse Practitioner, who is board certified in New York and New Jersey. And she also happens to be the proud mama of a very attached cockapoo. So, we welcome Immacula to today’s session.

Immacula St Jean

Morning, Nicole, nice to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Nicole Vienneau

I’m so glad that you agreed to chit chat with me about all things Nurse Coaching and things we’re passionate about related to Nursing. So, I thought we could take a trip back in time and just let everyone know a little bit about why and how you became a Nurse.

Immacula St Jean

My career path started in advertising and marketing communications; I obtained a bachelor’s degree from FIT. I was really into fashion in the past, really had no idea what I wanted to do, in terms of my career, but I was fascinated by fashion and beauty. And I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology and got a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing. I really enjoyed the field, I enjoyed studying, and then the market crashed in 2008.

And it was so difficult after graduation to actually get a job. Everyone wanted to hire you as an intern, and then once you intern or if you work part-time, you know, they couldn’t offer you a full-time position because they didn’t have the budget at the time. And there were so many people that were being laid off or losing their jobs, so it was kind of a difficult time in my life.

I didn’t know where I was going to go. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree that I had just obtained. And after speaking with my father, who is a very strong Haitian man, who’s very adamant about the medical field, he encouraged me to go back to school for Nursing. And Nursing had always been a plan B for me, but I decided at that time to take his advice and go back to Nursing school– and go to Nursing school, I should say.

And immediately I enrolled at Nassau Community College and I started taking all of my prerequisite courses, and then I just never stopped going. I literally fell in love with the Nursing field, just because it’s so vast and varied and there’s so many avenues that you could go into.

And there’s so many opportunities for you as a Nurse to work, whether you’re in the hospital, or you’re in the community, or in education, or research, or government, or even an independent practitioner or entrepreneur. There’s so many Nurses entrepreneurs out there. And I learned about that, actually, outside of Nursing, but once I got into Nursing school, I knew that I wanted to be a Family Nurse Practitioner.

So, once I graduated with my associates degree in Nursing, I continued on to become a Nurse Practitioner. And at the time, I worked at the hospital; I worked on a subacute rehab floor with Northwell. And then I continued on to Lemon Tree because I wanted to increase my skills and gain more knowledge as a Nurse. I moonlight on the ICU and the ER, so I kind of got my hands into everything.

But, as you know, sometimes in Nursing you can become so burned out with the hours and the stress, the mental drain, the emotional drain, and I found myself wondering if I wanted to be in Nursing anymore after being a Nurse, and becoming a Nurse Practitioner from 2012, and working as a Nurse for five years in the hospital. I was tired, I was working the night shift, I pretty much did not have a life. It was mostly working, working, working.

And I started becoming less passionate towards my patients and unhappy with what I was doing. And I didn’t like that because I originally went into Nursing and I just fell in love with it so much, so that I couldn’t believe that it was on five years and I was already becoming, you know, unhappy. And I switched many times; I stopped working at the hospital.

I went into homecare Nursing where I worked in the community. I did a lot of wound cares, I went into patient’s homes, did a lot of education, diabetic teaching, and I enjoyed that aspect of it. I had more communication, more time to spend with the patients. I got to learn about them, learn about their lifestyle and about their family lives and all the intricacies that interfere with their healthcare, essentially, that we don’t really get to see while working in the hospital.

Working in homecare really opened my eyes to a new opportunity, you know, what is really needed out there in Nursing, not just at the bedside, but in terms of providing patients with holistic care, from their mental health to their emotional health to the support that they have.

And what’s preventing them from following their discharge instructions from their medical provider? Or when they get discharged from the hospital, what keeps bringing them back into the hospital?

So, then I started researching what can I do to help these people to stop coming back to the hospital? Stop going into homecare? Like, what can I do for you? How can I help you? What can I, as this little ol’ Nurse, do to help you? And I kept researching and then for some reason Integrative Nurse Coaching came up and I looked into it. At first, I had no idea what it was about, and I was fascinated after reading the website about Nurse Coaching.

There’s a world out there where Nurses are coaching? What is that? What is it about? What can I do with it? How can I help people? I really wanted to get into it. I couldn’t at the time because it was only offered in person, it was very expensive, I couldn’t afford it. So, it remained in the back of my mind as I continued to pursue different ways that I can find my niche in the Nursing field, and I continued to work as a Nurse Practitioner.

I went into primary care, I worked in primary care for about a year in a small community setting, and I saw pretty much everyone from children, babies to elderly patients and I really liked that. And currently I’m working in urgent care, and urgent care, I really do like, especially right now with COVID, we’ve really gotten the chance to help a lot of people– testing frequently.

And a lot of people haven’t been able to see their primary care provider, so we’ve been that liaison for them between the hospital and their primary care provider, because a lot of these patients need to get a COVID test prior to going into a PCP office, and they end up using us as their PCP office once they come in.

So, I am currently working as a Nurse Practitioner in an urgent care setting, but I absolutely love, love, love the aspect of using health coaching, Nurse Coaching, health and wellness coaching, education, motivating, you know, inspiring patients to utilize the skills that they have already to help them achieve the goals that they want to achieve.

And that’s essentially why I returned to INCA and enrolled in the Nurse Coaching program last year and completed it in October. So that was my whole entire journey. So, I completed my studies as a Nurse Coach and I’m currently pursuing the holistic Nursing certification, as well as the Nurse Coaching certification, so that I can become a health and wellness Nurse Coach. That’s a very long-winded explanation. I hope that’s okay!

Nicole Vienneau

Absolutely, that’s okay, because each of us has such a unique story. And especially as you started to share your story, at the beginning, about how Nurses can have such varied pathways and we are exposed to so many opportunities being a Nurse.

And, you know, you started off in marketing and in fashion and that history, in itself, helps support your skills and your authenticity and how you provide Nursing in your community. And so, you know, it’s so fun to hear everyone’s story because, as Nurse Coaches, we know how important that is, to share the story and know the backgrounds so we can understand our fellow humans just a little bit better. So thanks for sharing all of your fascinating history.

You are at the beginning of your Nurse Coaching journey, but not at the beginning of your Nursing career or your life career. It’s awesome to speak with Nurses at the beginning of their Nurse Coaching career because there’s this awesome excitement and potential, and as I listened to your story I was wanting to know more.

Like, where you are right now, I know that you’re using your Nurse Coaching skills as best you can in your fast paced environment. So, I’m curious to know how you are using your Nurse Coaching skills in your present work and I know our listeners are dying to know.

Immacula St Jean

Yes, yes, yes, for sure. Essentially, Nurse Coaching is not just for the patients, it’s also for yourself, as a Nurse, because you have to always take care of yourself. So, I feel, for me, what I’ve taken from my studies from the Integrative Nurse Coach™ Academy is the self-care, self-development, self-awareness practices that we used to do in the courses.

So, trying to center myself before I see each patient, finding the compassion, and understanding that each patient is different and their needs are different and that what they perceive to be urgent or emergent to them may not be urgent or emergent to me, but it’s not for me to label how they feel about their illness or what’s going on with them.

So, I always try to go into a patient’s room thinking: this is important to them, and I am here to help them, and I have to do the best that I can to meet their needs. And that just helps me to really put my own biases, put my own selfish needs to the side, because sometimes you’re at the end of your day and you’re exhausted and then that one patient walks in at like the last minute, when the door is about to close, and you almost want to lose your cookies.

But you can’t because, again, I have to take a breath, practice those breathing, meditative exercises to go in, because it helps me to calm down and helps me to bring myself back into what I’m doing as a Nurse– you know, who I am, as a provider and, you know, the skill that I have is caring, it’s healing. And I have to be able to use that skill, regardless of how I feel.

And then turning it over to the patient, sometimes even though I am in a fast-paced environment, you do meet patients that sometimes are hysterical, they’re worried, especially with COVID right now. A lot of patients are very concerned, they’re worried, they don’t know, they don’t have all the information, they don’t have access to all the information that we do as providers.

I have to take the time to even sometimes, I end up holding my patients’ hands and using therapeutic touch to calm them down, and helping them catch their breath, and doing some breathing exercises with them when they become very upset and begin to weep about their anxiety about COVID.

So, I use a therapeutic touch a lot, I use a lot of breathing exercises with them, even if it’s for just five minutes, just to get them to calm down so that I can then educate them about COVID, or educate them about their illness, and educate them about the treatment option that I’m about to offer them, and how to follow up, so that their care plan, their treatment, continues on with their PCP.

So even though I am in an urgent care setting, I have been able to use small tidbits of my Nurse Coaching to help me, as a provider, so that I can be the best person that I can for my patients, and to help the patients, also, when they’re very anxious and worried and concerned about their illnesses or COVID.

Nicole Vienneau

I have to ask the question, how does learning all of the Nurse Coaching modalities, coupled with the self-care and what you’ve learned about yourself and the self-reflection, how does that compare– now knowing all those and implementing all of these skills into yourself and your practice– how does it compare to before you knew about the skills that you now implement?

Immacula St Jean

It’s such a big difference, really, because as a new Nurse– I still consider myself a new Nurse, or a new provider, because I became a Nurse maybe 10 years ago, but there have been people practicing for much longer than I have.

So, I still consider myself to be a novice Nurse, I’m still learning. But when you’re a novice Nurse, your priority is to consume. You’re consuming all this information, you’re trying to get as many skills as possible, you’re trying to figure out your niche.

You’re not stopping to think about what fulfills you. You’re not stopping to realize, really take in the moments that are really important in Nursing, when you connect with a patient, when you’ve had “aha” moments, or when you had a chance to actually eat lunch, and enjoy your lunch, and taste your food and swallow and not have indigestion afterwards because you’re so busy running, running, running, you’re so busy trying to consume information, you’re so busy trying to be a superhero.

What I’ve learned from the Nurse Coaching is to really slow down.

Yes, it’s very important for me to consume because, as a provider, I have to always stay ahead of new information, new studies, you know, how to treat patients properly, and how to communicate with people effectively so that they understand what I’m treating; the disease process and how they’re going to benefit from my treatment plans.

But at the same time, as a human being in a human level, you have to slow down to really connect with those people, because then there could be such a disconnect between the provider and the client, the patient, when you’re not paying attention to their emotional cues, or their mental health cues, because you’re so disconnected by your own thoughts. I have to treat, and I have to go to the next patient, I have to treat them, I have to go to the next patient, I have to read a study and I have to just keep going, going, going.

But the health coaching helped me to calm down, to breathe, to center myself, and to really connect with each patient. Everybody’s different, everyone has a story, like you said, that those stories make them all different, and they approach their illnesses differently. They approach the relationship between them and a provider differently.

Some people have really terrible relationships with the healthcare providers, because they haven’t had anyone actually sit down and listen to them, because they’re so busy running, running, running.

So, I’ve been able to slow down and actually, you know, listen to my patients, and treat them as human beings and not just patients, to connect with them and understand what they need, why it’s important for them, why they came in, and how it’s going to affect their daily living afterwards, or how our encounter is going to change their perception of the healthcare setting, their relationship with their PCP.

That’s the difference for me, it’s just that human connection that sometimes you miss out on when you’re so busy and so consumed with work, work, work, work, work, and you don’t get to take a breath, you don’t get to relax, you don’t get to center yourself and just be in that moment with the patient, at the time, and connect with them on a more human level.

Nicole Vienneau

Connection, on a human level, must then shift your perspective, of being the care, to come together with the patient, to allow that human experience to unfold.

Immacula St Jean

Absolutely. And the patients tend to trust you a little bit more when they don’t see you too much as a provider, they see you as a person, a human being, that actually genuinely cares about them because I’m communicating with them at their level. I’m not just throwing, you know, medical jargon at them. I’m asking, “Do you understand? Do you need additional help? Is there anyone here with you that can translate or help you?”

And not to say that other Nurses don’t do that, but in my experience, for me, I’ve just been so busy trying to learn as much as I can, as a novice Nurse, you know, acquire so many skills, work all these shifts, so that I can get the experience that I need to move on to my next. And moving on from one section of Nursing to from inpatient to the community health Nursing to primary care, I haven’t had a chance to really stop until I started taking stock of what I’m doing, when I took the Nurse coaching curriculum.

And it taught me to be more aware of my skills, to be more aware of myself, to be more aware of how I feel, you know, my thought process and how that is being, how my patients are relating to that, and how it’s affecting my work and how it’s affecting my personal life.

And even in my personal life, I can say that just the fact that I’ve started to slow down, and breathe, and focus more on the present, and not try to consume, and not try to acquire all these skills, has really, really helped me to find what really matters to me, and to discover what I’m passionate about, and what I want to continue pursuing as a Nurse, instead of where I was before, in the past, when I was ready to quit Nursing altogether.

Nicole Vienneau

And we definitely do not want you to quit Nursing altogether. So, I am taking a deep breath because I am really connecting to your story, and I know that there are so many Nurses who feel this burden, or a heaviness, when they go to work because they are feeling the pressure of the fast-paced environment– only time to do a task and then you’re on to the next thing and go, go, go, go, like you expressed.

And you mentioned the word presence, and you mentioned the word centering yourself, and so for people who are not really aware of that type of behavior, or an action that they could take, could you explain how you do it, what that means to you, and how you physically or mentally do this?

Immacula St Jean

For me, it’s taking maybe two minutes in between a patient. Hiding in a closet somewhere, going to the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, literally sitting on the toilet, and closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths.

And sometimes I even say to myself, you know, if I’m having a tough day, “It is just today, it is just this moment, it will pass.” And that just helps me to release, you get this huge relief. I mean, sometimes I have to let out such huge sighs in the bathroom, when I’m hiding out. Um, but just releasing that air, it feels like you’re letting go of such a huge weight in the body, and it makes you feel light, and my mind is a little clearer, and I’m able to go into a patient’s room feeling like a better version of myself.

So, to me, there are obviously a variety of ways to center yourself, you know, you can do yoga, you can do affirmations, and light a candle, sound, there so many different ways. But for me, it’s just closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths. Even if it’s just five deep breaths, and just focusing on my breaths, and not focusing on anything else. Just doing that helps me to calm down. It’s been very beneficial.

Nicole Vienneau 

I feel like we should take a breath together. Let’s do it. A big sigh breath. Are you ready? Let’s do it together. Everybody together. Everybody.

Immacula St Jean

That feels so good!

Nicole Vienneau

It does feel so good!

Immacula St Jean

It’s like you’re unpacking. You’re just unpacking all this stuff.

Nicole Vienneau

Yeah. And it does release that heaviness that I feel on my back sometimes, or my chest, and I just like that sound– that deep inhalation and exhalation, you know, breath in, breath out.

Immacula St Jean

Exactly.

Nicole Vienneau

Thank you for sharing what you do and for reminding us of the importance of this, not only for our patients, but for ourselves. Which then brings me to the next question, or the next thoughts, about self-care. Your definition, or your perception, of what self-care is and perhaps one or two things that you do for yourself.

Immacula St Jean

To me, self-care is being aware of your needs; doing what you can do, within your own limits, to meet those needs. So, for me, I’ve started to really value my morning routines because I’ve started on a very spiritual journey.

I was never a very spiritual person, but now I’m really into prayer and I’m really into meditation. And not meditation in terms of sitting on the floor, on a yoga mat, and closing my eyes and focusing on breathing, but mostly like meditating on verses, Bible verses, devotionals that I’ve done, and how I can implement that into my day and my life.

So, my morning routine is part of my self-care, I really value it, I try to keep to it as much as possible. Waking up at six o’clock in the morning and, of course, priority is walking my dog, Nala, who’s extremely needy and attached to me, so I try to get that out of the way as much as possible.

And then taking at least 15 to 30 minutes in the morning, when I’m not busy and I’m not in a rush to go anywhere, to read my Bible, and to do some devotionals, and to write down verses that really stick out to me, that I feel like are important at the moment, right now.

Sometimes I have questions about, you know, different areas of my life, and I have concerns, and I pray on them the night before. And then I find that when I wake up in the morning and do my devotionals, my prayers, I’m feeling very calm and relaxed, very empowered, motivated, and finding compassion and love for what I’m doing, and love for other people.

So, to me, it’s just taking care of yourself, whether it’s, you know, taking five minutes for yourself, away from everyone, in the morning, during the day, or in the evening.

Practicing yoga, practicing meditation, practicing deep breathing, artwork, art therapy, music therapy, whatever it is that you need to do that is going to help you present yourself, in yourself. We all know who we want to be, we all have that best version of ourselves, but sometimes we’re so busy with the external factors that we don’t take the time to really go inward, to develop those attributes or characteristics that are inside of us, that make us who we really want to be.

So, I think self-care, for me, is taking the time to go inward, focus on what matters, focusing on my mindset, focusing on my relationships, focusing on my relationship with myself, my relationship with the higher power, my relationship with my community, my family, my friends, and practicing kindness and compassion. That all came out of me just practicing all the skills that I learned from the Nurse Coaching program, which was invaluable.

Nicole Vienneau

Sounds absolutely wonderful. And I’m so happy and just honored to hear your story and understand how you have chosen to take the skills that you’ve learned, but then exploration of them, to see how it lands for you, and choosing what’s important to you to help yourself.

Immacula St Jean

Absolutely. Definitely, by doing so, it’s helping me to figure out how I can utilize those skills in my community and help other people. There’s so many people out there that are just unaware of this niche in Nursing, and what we do, and how we can serve them, and I just really want to get out there and tell them, “Hey! Hello, I’m a Nurse, I have all this knowledge, I can help you achieve whatever goal it is that you need to achieve. I am here to support you in achieving those goals and I can help you in any capacity.” Especially as Nurses, we’re just such jack of all trades.

Nicole Vienneau

We really are! I mean, we have so much knowledge, like you say, so many vast skills and so many experiences within our lives, that we can help you achieve anything you want to achieve. And look at us, how we’ve achieved in our own lives.

And yet, we’re still looking for more, but yet, we’re finding presence in what we’re doing and more self-compassion and more self-love for our own selves, which then extends to our clients, to our patients, to our communities, to our families, as you mentioned. I mean, everything just snowballs in that direction in a positive way.

So where do you see Nurse Coaching leading to? Bigger picture?

Immacula St Jean

I think Nurse Coaching should be involved in all aspects of health care, to be honest. From just personal one-on-one to the inpatient facilities to the community setting. There should be Nurse Coaches in the government, really helping out those officials, because they definitely need some help. There needs to be some centering, some refocusing going on.

Nicole Vienneau

Immacula is calling you!

Immacula St Jean

Yes! I hope so! I think coaches are very poised to infiltrate all aspects of Nursing, because even in the inpatient setting, having a Nurse Coach by your side is probably very effective because the regular floor Nurses don’t usually have the time to sit and explain to you what is happening. You know, they’re bombarded, they’re short staffed, they’re overwhelmed, they’re overworked unfortunately.

Maybe implementing an intermediary person– between when the doctor orders, you know, whatever the doctor orders, and the Nurses come in and implement it– maybe having a Nurse Coach coming into the inpatient setting, and sitting down with a patient for an hour to 45-minute session to listen to them, and find out how they feel about their current situation.

How they feel about what the doctor’s planning, the care plan, their discharge instructions, if there’s any misconceptions in there, what their plans are afterwards, so that maybe the Nurse Coach can coordinate with the care management team to create a better discharge plan for that patient so that they’re not returning to the hospital 30 days later.

Or even in the community setting, when the patient is discharged and the patient is going home, maybe the patient should have, at least, one or two Nurse Coaching sessions when they get home. Instead of just a homecare visit, they should have a Nurse Coaching session so that they can discuss with the Nurse Coach what their goals are, and how they plan to achieve those goals, and the Nurse Coach could provide them with some insight and help them to discover their goals themselves, and how they plan on doing it, and just supporting them along that journey.

Or even in education, when students are enrolling in Nursing programs– you and I both know, Nursing programs are absolutely insane and stressful, and you often find yourself isolated from the rest of the world as a Nursing student. You have no life. The only people that understand your struggle are, really, your classmates because we’re all in this together.

So maybe even having Nurse Coaches in the educational setting, so that students can go and discuss their process each semester. How they’re achieving their goals, are they on track to achieving their goals, and receiving insight into how they can maybe pivot if they’re not achieving their goals.

Helping them discover their own innate wisdom to create or manifest the goals, the dreams, that they’re trying to manifest in Nursing school– it’s extremely stressful. In terms of primary care, definitely, I feel like Nurse Coaching can just… there’s no limit to it, really.

It could be implemented in all avenues, whether it’s in healthcare, whether it’s corporate environments, community settings, schools, universities, everywhere. I think coaches are the best cheerleaders to have because we are just so knowledgeable and skilled and we have so many different backgrounds, like you mentioned before. Especially my background in fashion, no less. I could work with a fashion designer, coaching them.

So, there are so many opportunities for Nurse Coaches. And it’s important for us to collaborate in the community with our different care team members to really let them know about our skills, and what we offer, and how we can work together to really make the patient care experience a more holistic one.

And I know the industry is definitely moving towards a more holistic treatment plan instead of just the traditional medicine, where the patient just gets treated, and they go home, and that’s it. But you know, now there’s the homecare Nurse that comes in, and then you have PT at home, and you have home health aides at home, you have so many different opportunities to really plug in that Nurse Coach that can maybe bring the whole process together so that the patient understands more.

The patient is able to be more independent in their care plan instead of more reliant on the providers, and more reliant on the doctors and the medications, and they’re more involved and more aware of what’s happening, and they can verbalize how they perceive the situation or what their outcome is that they’re trying to achieve and create a plan on how they can achieve that outcome. And we can communicate and connect the dots for them, or even connect them with other resources if they don’t have those resources.

Nicole Vienneau

Right, and I love the imagery of allowing the patients to realize that they are their solution. They are their own solution. They are the authority. And somehow, somewhere in the healthcare scheme of things, we’ve shifted that authority back to the health care practitioner, but really the bottom line is it’s the patient’s decision.

The patient is going to be the one going home into their own life and having to implement suggestions that a healthcare provider wants them to do. However, you know, the health care provider’s not with them on a daily basis, so it is the patient who’s making those decisions and Nurse Coaches are really helping them align their personal goals, alongside the healthcare practitioner’s goals, and helping them see which thing is of most value to them. What are their barriers? How are they going to overcome those barriers to help make those new processes, new patterns, stick in their life?

Immacula St Jean

Exactly, absolutely. Because, most often, patients are discharged from the hospital with a booklet of discharge instructions, which they hardly ever look at, it gets thrown away. And then they don’t understand what the doctor ordered, or what medication they need to be taking, why they should be taking the medication, because they’re overwhelmed with what’s happening to them to begin with.

And then when the doctor tells them about lifestyle modifications that they should be implementing to improve their well-being, that patient, at the moment that the information is being delivered, is not mentally there, because they’re overwhelmed with them being in the hospital.

Whether they were in the hospital, or if they were acutely ill and they were in the ER, or if maybe they just got a diagnosis from their PCP of diabetes, or pre-diabetes, whatever the case is, their concern now is they’re anxious about what this means for them and their families.

They understand what the doctor or the provider is saying to them about lifestyle modification, but internally, they’re not internalizing it, they don’t automatically know what to do with that.

And they leave the hospital, or the emergency room, or the primary care office, or the clinic, with medication and instructions and there’s no one connecting it to them in the real world, in their real life, and how it’s going to affect them uniquely, in their own environment, and how they can, like you said, connect the care plan with their lives and achieve the goals– their joint goal, their goal and the provider’s goal– and create a more cohesive relationship, so that they can actually stay healthy, stay out of the hospital, lose weight, eat better, be more active, live better with their illness, or heal.

They don’t have that tool. They just have their discharge instructions and their own anxiety, and there’s nothing in between. And I feel like that’s where we fit in as Nurse Coaches. We’re that in between. We have the knowledge, and we have the caring personality to come in and help them to connect, and help them to understand, and help them to express, and help them to create their own plans, and how they’re going to take the doctor’s suggestions, with the providers suggestions, as you mentioned, because that’s pretty much what it is.

They’re suggestions that the patient will decide whether or not they want to implement, and sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But maybe with the help of a Nurse Coach, they can understand why it’s important for them to implement those suggestions, and how they can implement them in their unique lifestyle, and maybe achieve better outcomes.

Nicole Vienneau

You’re hired.

Immacula St Jean

I’ll take the job! I don’t know what it is, but I’ll take it.

Nicole Vienneau 

Awesome! Immacula, how can people find you? How can people work with you?

Immacula St Jean

Well, currently, like I said, I am studying for my certification exam, but I am on Instagram: @ImmaNurseCoach. I’m also on Facebook. I would say probably by September, I am planning to create a health and wellness program that I would love to introduce to the public and maybe we can discuss a second interview where I introduce that and talk about it a little bit more.

That is what I’m working on right now. I would love to work with people who are struggling with chronic illnesses and are trying to implement lifestyle modifications into their lives and haven’t been able to. And, you know, I just want to be that liaison, that cheerleader, that promoter, to help you achieve the goals that you would aspire to achieve. In the meantime, though, everyone can connect with me on social media on Instagram.

Nicole Vienneau

Yeah, and you have great, inspirational messages on your Instagram page. So yes, definitely follow Immacula on Instagram and we’ll be looking forward to your ideas coming forward as they emerge, and the continued shifting of the paradigm of health care towards wellness care. In the meantime, we’ll be watching you, Immacula, and thank you so much for being a guest with us here on Integrative Nurse Coaches in Action.

Immacula St Jean

Thank you so much for having me. It was really fun talking to you.

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