As medical professionals, nurse coaches assist patients to develop their overall well-being using a holistic treatment methodology. If one is planning to become a nurse coach, he/she must understand their prime roles and duties and the minimum educational requirements for the designation. Today, a nurse coach is a respectable and popular career option among many.
Who is a nurse coach?
A nurse coach is a certified medical professional who provides relevant and important healthcare information and knowledge to patients. It helps to fulfill their healthcare objectives and goals. Through consultation sessions, nurse health coaches assist the patients to focus on their overall health and well-being. During the consultation sessions, the nurse coaches identify the major health problems and concerns. Based on the identification of health issues, they design a personalized health program helping the patients to cater to their objectives.
The job roles and responsibilities of a nurse coach
A nurse coach is accountable for multiple day-to-day functioning. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Rendering well-planned and clear wellness strategies to patients
- Hosting physical and online classes to teach patients (clients) and family members of patients about the importance of health and overall well-being.
- Meeting with patients and their family members and discussing wellness objectives and goals.
- Identifying the health concerns and risks in patients
- Getting in touch with the healthcare providers of patients and communicating their treatment plans and methods
- Developing coaching plans for every patient to achieve optimal health care
- Assessing the progress of patients towards their health and wellness goals
- Motivating and inspiring patients to continue with the practice of health and wellness strategies
Becoming a nurse coach
The section includes the step-by-step procedure of becoming a nurse coach.
Pursuing an undergraduate degree
Pursuing an undergraduate degree can help aspiring nurse coaches gain the knowledge and skills necessary for their careers. Having a degree also helps the nurse coaches attract potential patients by showcasing their expertise and skills necessary for the job role. One of the most common undergraduate degrees is a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Some colleges and universities also allow students to focus on nurse coaching so that they can gain an insight into the profession and the job role before graduation. The degree often takes four years, but one can also pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing which takes only two years.
Becoming a registered nurse
One has to pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) to become a registered nurse. The examination assesses the skills and knowledge obtained during the undergraduate program in nursing. The test is also important to gain a nursing license in the state where one plans to practice. The examination is considered an adaptive test with a range of multiple questions based on the performance of the candidates. The examination is held for six hours with scheduled breaks in between. It is considered to be a tough examination, and only skilled individuals can crack it.
Gaining work experience
When a registered nurse has gained relevant years of experience in the field, he/she can become a nurse coach. This particular procedure is utilized by several registered nurses seeking experience in hospitals and healthcare facilities. It is recommended that during the undergraduate program, one must consider finding volunteering or internship opportunities at medical facilities. This helps to gain a useful understanding of the functioning of medical establishments from the very beginning.
After graduation, one must consider working at local healthcare for an entry-level nurse health coach role. If one fails to search for a role anywhere as a nurse coach, working as a registered nurse will also add to the experience. The experience gathered can allow applying for nurse coach positions in the future.
Acquiring health coach certification
It is always better to acquire a health coach certification irrespective of whether it is mandated by medical facilities or not. Earning a certificate in the health coach field is a way of showcasing the expertise and skills for the job role and making the resume more attractive and noticeable to medical employers. Nurse coaches can acquire the following types of certifications.
Integrative Nurse Coach certification
The INCA (International Nurse Coach Association) offers the Integrative Nurse Coach Certification. It examines the ability of an individual to perform traditional methods of treating and healing patients. The course also provides additional coaching to become board certified as a nurse coach. The requirements are:
- A registered nurse license
- Two years of experience as a registered nurse
- A bachelor’s degree in nursing
- 60 hours of experience in nurse coaching
Holistic Nurse Coach certification
The certification helps practice alternative treatment and healing to patients via yoga and aromatherapy. The holistic treatment helps patients to achieve their optimal health and wellness goals. The AHNCC (American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation offers the Holistic Nurse Board Certification (HN-BC). This can be applied by individuals by taking a quantitative examination. The eligibility criteria include:
- A registered nurse license
- Undergraduate degree from an accredited nursing program
- One year of full-time nursing experience in holistic treatment
- 40 hours of minimum experience in holistic nurse practices
The above-mentioned are some of the steps to becoming a nurse coach in the USA.
The working environment for nurse coaches
Nurse coaches are often found working for insurance companies and organizations, helping the employees and members with their optimal wellness and health. The majority of the nurse health coaches work in an office environment where they can talk with employees and assist them with individual health goals and practice wellness objectives. When a nurse coach works in an insurance company or a corporation, his/her working schedule is consistent for fixed working hours. Because of the stress-free working schedule, a lot of registered nurses shift their career options to nurse coaches.
Apart from working in different office-related working environments, a nurse coach can also start his/her private practice, or health coaching business, see private clients, and help the clients to cater to their health goals. The stress-free working ambiance and the flexible working schedule help nurse health coaches focus on those who can benefit the maximum from their training and knowledge.