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5 Reasons to Become a Nurse Coach

Content courtesy of the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy|International Nurse Coach Association

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurse burnout was a pervasive problem. Now, nurses have reached a new peak of exhaustion.

Research has shown that nurses affected by burnout syndrome in hospital systems often attribute their feelings to individual pressures, poor management, organizational issues, and the type of work being performed. And burnout can lead to high turnover rates, poor performance on the job, decreased patient safety, and more nurses leaving our incredible profession.

If burnout is something you’re experiencing, it might be time to renew your self-care strategies. Practice various methods of self-care like taking time for yourself, learning deep breathing techniques, spending time in nature, and eating healthy. After all, you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.

If self-care isn’t enough, you may want to consider a career transition.

Enter Nurse Coaching

What is nurse coaching? The American Holistic Nurses Association defines it as a results-oriented, structured interaction with patients to help them meet their goals.

In other words, nurse coaches provide patients with the tools and motivation they need to make decisions about areas of their lives that have been holding them back from optimal health and wellness.

This is all done by facilitating healing through assessment, education, and collaboration.

Why Should You Become a Nurse Coach?

1. You’ll Be in Control

Nurse coaching allows you to practice autonomously while helping your patients to achieve their goals by optimizing their integrative lifestyle health and well-being. The ultimate result is improved satisfaction with your nursing career and improved outcomes for your patients.

2. You’ll Be Able to Work on Your Own Terms

As a nurse coach, you’re in charge of how you interact with clients, and you can use your intuition and creativity to create a personalized healing environment. Take your specialty knowledge and share it with others in any way you choose.

3. You’ll Make a Real Difference in the Healthcare System

In many healthcare settings, you could have a dozen patients you need to single-handedly manage at any given moment. With nurse coaching, you’ll have one-on-one time with each patient, so you can create authentic relationships and deep connections with each one.

Additionally, you’ll get to talk about more than just their diagnosis on paper — you’ll have the opportunity to understand who they really are as human beings, enabling you to better guide them toward finding their own solutions to optimizing their health.

The nurse coach is a leader who advocates for and creates new approaches to optimizing lifestyle health and wellness.

4. You Can Stop Feeling Burned Out

Nurse burnout is a horrible feeling. It’s feeling apathy and experiencing loss of sleep. It’s feeling irritability towards things that used to make you thrive. It’s fatigue, loss of joy for your work, and loss of love for yourself, and you don’t know why.

Nurse coaching can make an impact on nurse burnout because we place a high priority on building self-care into our practice to release our sorrows, our fears, and the loss and tragedy we experience every day.

We create moments of pause and presence to honor our patients, our colleagues, and ourselves, even in the busiest of work environments. And we learn to honor ourselves in our humanity.

5. The Job Market Is Thriving

Nurses hold a very special place in our healthcare system. Why? Because yours is the most honest and ethical profession, and you provide the interface between medicine and human beings. You are the heart of healthcare, and this means you are perfectly poised to pioneer a much-needed model for patient-centered care.

While nurse coaching isn’t a new concept (nurses like Betty Neuman, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Dorothea Orem, MSN, RN, began defining and discussing the concept over 30 years ago), healthcare providers are finally recognizing the benefits and how cost-effective the practice can be. Also, studies indicate improved health outcomes when patients feel listened to by their providers and are actively participating in their own healthcare decisions.

Plus, using the nurse coaching model in daily practice creates a positive, energetic space to practice joyfully and soulfully. As such, the job market is ripe with opportunity. Here are numerous career paths you can take with nurse coaching.

Types of Nurse Coaching

There are plenty of career settings to choose from when it comes to being a nurse coach. The options are endless! You can practice in providers’ offices, community health, hospitals (employee and population health), insurance companies, faith-based organizations, on corporate wellness teams, and more. You can even open your own practice.

  • Be Part of an Interprofessional Team – Working as a nurse coach provides you with the opportunity to work with like-minded providers who believe in promoting whole person health the same way you do. You can work in private practice alongside other healthcare providers, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, functional medicine physicians, holistic nutritionists, etc. Establishing a network for referrals to providers who want to achieve the same outcome is powerful, and the possibilities are endless.
  • Work in the Community – Being a community nurse coach means your focus will be on more than just individuals —you’ll also be advocating for the health of the global population. Community centers are eager for wellness-oriented programming. This is an incredibly rewarding job where you can really make a difference for specific population groups and communities.
  • Use Your Skills in Hospitals – Even hospitals have begun to turn to nurse coaching in order to help reduce rehospitalization and length-of-stay rates of high-dollar cost client populations. Some nurse coaches do not leave their current place of employment but make a difference right where they are with their new programming and ideas. Many become wellness champions in their facilities and provide needed self-care group programs to other nurses.

Do You Need Board Certification?

Certification demonstrates credibility to the public that you have met the competencies required for practice. While it is not a requirement, it is recommended to show the world that the nursing profession is recognizing your specialty practice.

The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) has multiple certificate options you can pursue — Nurse Coach (NC-BC), Holistic Nurse (HN-BC), and Health & Wellness Nurse Coach (HWNC-BC). To earn one of these certifications, you’ll need an active RN license as well as two years of full-time nursing experience, 60 CNEs/contact hours over the past three years, and 60 hours of coaching experience.

End Your Burnout, Start Your New Career

There is nothing worse than being cared for by a burned-out nurse! If you’re ready to stop feeling burned out and focus on more than just symptom management and disease care, nurse coaching is definitely something to consider.

A nurse’s personal self-balance is essential to providing excellent nursing care, which is why self-development and self-care practices are integral parts of a solid nurse coaching program. Learning meditation and imagery awareness practice interventions encourages deep reflection and creates an openness to possibilities for change for both clients and nurses. It all leads to skilled health promotion through creative problem solving. Are you ready to become a nurse coach?

Visit inursecoach.com and sign up today to get on a career path to nurse coaching.

Karen Avino, EdD, RN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC, and Ronald D. Kanka
Karen Avino, EdD, RN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC is Executive Director of Education for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy and the International Nurse Coach Association. She has over 40 years of experience in Maternal-Child Health, Administration, Community Health, Holistic Nursing and Nurse Coach practice. Ronald D. Kanka is Executive Director of Business Operations for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy and International Nurse Coach Association. He has been essential in advancing the nurse coach movement globally.

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