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A New Role for Nurses--Coaching

Posted By: Alex Kecskes In: Healthcare & Medical

Nurses as coaches? The truth is, many nurses have already been using coaching skills to help their patients. Now nurse coaching is finally being recognized as a viable field in its own right. Starting in January 2013, nurses can earn professional certification as a coach. The American Nurses Association (ANA) even validates nurse coaching in its book entitled The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching: The Provider’s Guide to Coaching Scope and Competencies.
Darlene Hess, co-author of The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching, says that instead of sending patients home with a to-do list, nurses can become more involved in guiding patients to better health. “The nurse coaching process begins with the ability to become fully present with self and with the patient,” explained Hess, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, PMHNP-BC, ACC, HWNC-BC, director of Brown Mountain Visions. “Then the nurse coach uses active listening, powerful questioning and direct communication to assist the client to identify goals, create action steps and evaluate progress.”
Nancy M. Albert, PhD, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, notes that coaching helps patients help themselves in dealing with the regimented routines of a chronic illness. Albert is senior director of the office of research and innovation for the Nursing Institute and clinical nurse specialist for the Kaufman Center for Heart Failure in the Heart and Vascular Institute at The Cleveland Clinic. “From a patient perspective, coaching is often used to teach patients and facilitate adherence to self-care practices associated with chronic medical diagnoses such as heart failure, osteoarthritis, diabetes and chronic lung disease,” said Albert. “Nurses who use coaching principles effectively will be able to have well-balanced communication with patients, families and caregivers that fosters collaborative practice and behavior change support.”
It's all about communication and improving clinical results, notes Albert. “As people in the U.S. age, we are more likely to see the rates of common chronic diseases increase over time. Nurses who are skilled in coaching have added tools in their tool belt they can use to improve patient–healthcare provider communication and enhance clinical outcomes,” said Albert. “Coaching is an ideal model to use to understand patients’ desires, constraints and barriers, and then use the knowledge to develop an ongoing plan of care.”
Barbara M. Dossey, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, HWNC-BC, co-director of the International Nurse Coach Association, core faculty member for the Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program and co-author of The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching feels that nurse coaches can draw out a patient’s strengths to take better care of themselves. “We use the expression that we are walking with clients through a discovery process,” said Dossey. “We all know that we need to eat healthfully, exercise and reduce stress, but we need help to tap into being more creative, more resilient and how to reduce our anxiety and fear of frustration. This is where we use our coaching competencies to connect with patient strengths and what they want to learn and do with their lives.”
If you’re interested in becoming  a nurse coach, you can sign up for continuing education courses in coach training and become certified through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /
What do you think?
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Posted by: Mary B
Loved it
Posted by: Sharen S
I feel this a excellent way for  the nurse to teach patient about the importance of"wellness"However I think the certification criteria for a good nurse with excellent skills in patient teaching will be difficult.
Posted by: Stephanie G
Great Idea !
Posted by: Mary Ann D
I've been around for 40years and before that I worked as a "yellow bird"...a candy striper to anyone else.  I think we need prevention coaching and lobbying for more accessibility to mess and prevention before the patients end up with the higher costs of hospitalization
Posted by: Irene J
That sounds great for a "new" role for the LPN.
Posted by: Bradley R
I think this is somthing that every nurse should be taught from the start and given the time to do with each paitent every day of their career.
Posted by: Janet s
I would like to do this part time,what training is required?? Where are the jobs???  I have been an RN for 40 years and have been wanting the wellness nursing to take off.This is part of helping the patient be as healthy as they can be. Thanks, Janet
Posted by: Sandra K
This is a great idea for nurses who are good with guiding or directing - that's what any type of coach does. Confidence is a must and coaching is not for insecure or timid nurses.
Posted by: Alex Kecskes
For more info and FAQs, go here: click on AHNCC handbook.
Posted by: emily M
Where do i sign up?
Posted by: Mike L
The ART and SCIENCE of Nurse Coaching?? Really?? Isn't this what nurses generally do without extra initials next to their name?
Posted by: Maureen L
Great idea! Hope it can ignite a module or protocol for the Affordable Care Act to extract some funds towards elevating the nursing profession's "boots on the ground" value for health & wellness USA.
Posted by: Caroline G
sounds very interesting
Posted by: JULIA M
This is very exciting news.  I have been talking to nurses about this for some time now.  I firmly believe patients will benefit greatly for this.
Posted by: Cheryl c
I would like to know about job opportunities for this area of nursing- separate from just being a part of what we do in a day to day nursing position
Posted by: shannon c
Excellant!!! Such a good way to utilize nursing talents in another way.
Posted by: Irene J
I think this is a great new field for the LPN. I can't find a job as a nurse and started going this on my own.
Posted by: Irene J
I think this is a great new field for the LPN. I can't find a job as a nurse and started going this on my own.
Posted by: GUILLERMO R
I like it. I am already doing these. I am seeing Clients who are morbid obese, and diabetics
Posted by: Winifred S
This is a long awaiting branch in nursing care.  I'm very excited the Credential Program is being offered and very interested to be a part of it.  As an Extended Care Nurse and Home Health Nurse for 27yrs part of my job description has included... 'coaching' my patients.  I would like to be updated with all prerequisites and requirements to be in the program.
Posted by: Diane C
People would benefit from the coaching concept.It is like mentoring,encouraging and teaching health principles all in one. Gives nursing a fresh perspective to be interactive with patients/clients.
Posted by: Cheryl R
Where do I start!?!
Posted by: Tina D
I think this is a very good  idea.   Nurses have always been coaches,now everyone will know.  Please tell me how to certified.
Posted by: Penny S
This field of coaching as a nurse would be great.  I am very interested to see if any positions open up and what the requirements would be for it.
Posted by: Judy P
I am an RN with 33 years of experience; I spent six years in care management through telephonic contacts; we were identified as coaches by some; I'm not sure at my level of maturity whether I want to take any further courses, but would love to see more information.
Posted by: Constance R
What type of market is there for Nurse coaches?  What percentage of certified Nurse Coaches are working as coaches, and where?  Certification is one thing, but a viable market is another.
Posted by: Judy S
I think this is such a wonderful idea; we as nurses or other health profession have spent all of our lifes' teaching,managing, aiding, administering to our patients and yes coaching them in every facet of their life even to the very end in many cases. Tis makes a lot of sense to now add on nurses as coaches; I think this is great and it may help save many more patients / peoples lifes in the long run who may greatly benefit from our becoming coaches as well as continue to be nurses. We have evolved so much since I went into nursing over 35 years ago and we are a still a changing for the good of all mankind, Thank you for reminding a lot of us of the things we already do every do every day. I would like to be a part of the next step in whatever the process we need to take to get the ball rolling; so to speak!
Posted by: Judy Souther
I think this is wonderful and it gets a medical hand in the school system where kids are always doing activities could be life threatening ie: heart arrhythmias that go undiagnosed and some of the young adults are dropping dead because not enough rapid response is available; this is wonderful and I hope it will go over real well in all of our school systems. I am totally excited and on board for this to happen. Give the nurses one more feather in their cap to wear proudly for making someone wake up to see this finally as something very important, We really need this. Thanks so much for your hard dedicated work.
Posted by: Alex Kecskes
For more information on the application process for Holistic Nursing  or Nurse Coach certification, contact the Professional Testing Corporation at 212-356-0672,   jwebb@ptcny.comMore specific answers to come.  
Posted by: Amy C
I would love more information on Nurse Certification to be a nurse "coach"
Posted by: Roseann S
Something we have done foreverWithout all the additional initials following our namesWhy is it that everything that falls under what an RN is trained for is now being pulled apart and redone in order to get all the additional initialsThese skills should automatically be part of who we are at graduation if our nursing programs stay strong instead of cookie cutter basicsTechnician positions are being created by breaking the whole into separate pieces that don't link to the others which can result in a. Incomplete picture with the wrong outcome and action which could cause dire consequences
Posted by: Rebecca T
Will you be certifying Respiratory Therapists and Registered Dietitians or is your program going to be limited to Nurses only.
Posted by: Jenna D
I am so pleased to hear this. It is so important to help patients identify creative ways to manage their health in ways that fit into their lives and work for them as individuals...This puts a whole new perspective on the scope of Community Health.
Posted by: martha r
I am interested in Holistic Nursing na would appreciate more inormation please.I reside in rural North Ga. and have been a nurse casemgr, consultant for the past 15 years. I started nursing career in 1972.
Posted by: Tam M.
Sounds good. Please send info.
Posted by: Janet B
Posted by: Donna C. L
great article!
Posted by: martha l
I'm interested in American Holistic Nursing Credentialing Corporation please send information.
Posted by: JoAnne F
please send information re: certification. Thank you
Posted by: Patricia C
Would love more information on this nursing certification.
Posted by: Roxanne K
Just DO IT!!! You do not need any elderly person's permission by showing them a Coach Credential!  Save your money and get to the nearest Senior Center and I guarantee you will find a need for your skills.  First have FAITH in God and know He will sustain you with your wages.  A Matter of trust and living within your means......Being content with simple things and being rewarded with huge things... Wisdom!
Posted by: Michella A
I think this is a great idea. I am very interested in being a nurse coach. Actually, this is what I do everyday. Thank you.
Posted by: Sally k
After 30+ years as a nurse, I can relate to the "coaching" idea. However, I just turned 70 and do not think I want to take any courses to achieve credentialing as a "coach". However, I can remember many occasions as a nurse and as a nurse practitioner when I indeed felt like a coach. Patiently holding a hand, explaining, reassuring. This is a role that is definitely needed.
Posted by: Cynthia A
I am such an advocate of the coaching approach to resident / patient care. I teach and practice the Non Viloleny Communication (NVC) practice of Marshall Rosenberg that relates to all human kind in an ongoing compassionate direction.
Posted by: Sherry G
Please send me more information on the role of nurses in coaching. Have a 35 yr. career with lots of potential to help many people & would like to know more.
Posted by: Lucinda L
I am very interested in the continuing education courses needed to become a nurse coach.  I went to the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, but was unable to decipher where this continuing education is conducted.  I currently have a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership with a Graduate certificate in Healthcare Education.  Please direct me to the continuing education resources needed to fulfill this highly needed and exciting opportunity.Sincerely,Lucinda
Posted by: Glenda A
This is a great article and has caused me to think about my goals and future as a nurse.  ThanksGlenda
Posted by: Leslie F
How much does this certification cost and how long does it take to get?Also,how many hours of study each day are required?  What kinds of job opportunities are out there for this?
Posted by: Kristen R
Now, this makes alot of sense!!! I have been a RN since 1990 and in 2010 completed my Ma in Counseling. I have been looking for an opportunity to use both of my degree together. Would my graduate degree make me eligible for this profession?
Posted by: Exzelia A
I truly believe that the client, the family, the community and the doctor can have the best knowledgeable and supportive care available through a nurse.
Posted by: DONALD T
I currently work in a small research facility. The coaching principle is very similar to working in research. Patients who have a lot of one on one care and the time allowed to really understand their health care staff really do much better managing their chronic illnesses.
Posted by: Donna S
Very interested
Posted by: Camilla J
such a great concept to maintaining as high a level of wellness for chronic disease patients as possible.  Perhaps a great part time career for newly retired nurses with tons of experience in people management thank you for the article!
Posted by: patricia c
I'm a graduate of Coach U and a CNO.  Not only are coaches valuable to patients they are also very valuable to new nursing leaders.  
Posted by: kathy b
and how do you get paid by this?
Posted by: Susan B
I am so excited about the new role. I have done alot of research and it is an area of nursing that is in demand. I have been trying to get something as this started in my rural community but it is not taken lightly. The physicians do not understand what it really can do. Would like to find out how to have Medicare pay for the service and the insurance companies.
Posted by: Florencia L
I would love to learn more about nurse coaching. I know for a fact that we nurses need to connect with our patients, allowing and making them understand the plan of care for a quality outcome in regards to their health and well being.Please send me more information and how to get certified.Thank you.
Posted by: Sallie D
Ok I will do thr nurse coach education course.
Posted by: PATRICIA G
Coaching is exactly what most nurses do.  I am a seasoned Behavioral Health RN and have long considered myself a teacher/mentor/coach, but I would be quite satisfied with just using "coach", since that function includes the first two in my trilogy.  I agree with Shelly B. about the questionable ability of a patient really learning the concepts and skills during today's short stays in the hospital.  There are too many limiting factors in most health care settings.I love coaching, but like Randall B., I am more or less retired.  I love the idea of becoming a  certified  nurse coach!  I know there is a great need for this enhanced and more specific role.
Posted by: Judy P
Nurse coaching is something i would enjoy how do i become certified
Posted by: Jan G
The holistic healing pathway is something I have always advocated for the client. it is wonderful to see that there is an recognized educational pathway for nurses to implement this holistic approach. thank you
Posted by: Therese H
Excellent idea!  Would love  to hear more about this esciting apportunity and certification options>
Posted by: Diane w
I love the concept of this new role.I have been a nurse for 20 years,and I have worked in many areas of nursing.This is what I do best! How do I get started?
Posted by: Linda B
I would like more information on this certification. This is the way to help society as a whole to heal itself yet they need the help from nurses to have strategies that work and tools that are usable to move toward being healthier no matter what stage of health they are in.
Posted by: Marilyn K. L
I would like to learn more about nurse coaching and the course. Please send me information about the course, credentials/experience required, cost, etc.
Posted by: Jane C
This article caught my attention immediatley.  Finally we are focusing on the whole patient!!!  i will definitley be looking into this. What an opportunity.
Posted by: mercedes c
Coaching patients is a good investment that provides returns not always apparent in the immediate future, but certainly in the long run.  We haven't had behaviors that are measurable and therefore, not apparently profitable (or not acknowledged as profitable.)  The health community and consumers, however, are learning.  And, for now, until they do find out, the practice is rewarding in other ways.  We need to do more and demonstrate that the contribution to both the consumer and healthcare are worth reimbursement.  Each person we coach and each person who sees its benefit will pass it on.  Go coaches!
Posted by: Heidi S
This is an excellent example of one of the many skills that nurses possess and don't realize the positive impact this portion of their care has on their clients. I am definitely a coach. And it is my coaching skills that navigate my patients through their disease processes.
Posted by: Nora S
Why is coaching only for Nurses?  I have been an occupational therapist for over 20 years,  I have been coaching patients, families, children, staff, and the community all of my career.  Now, how can I get a job in coaching, with my credentials, my wealth of healthcare knowledge and my great bed side manner?
Posted by: TRACY C
Amazing concept!
Posted by: Shelly B
Posted by: Randal  D
This is a wonderful  idea especially for those of us who are retired & still hold a valid license.  I personally was a nurse associate for a cardiovascular group for 15+ years & teaching was 50% of my practice. I spent 20+ years with a law firm doing medical discovery & 50% of my practice there was preparation of attorneys from the medical aspect prior to depositions &trial to insure their medical knowledge of the case. Personally I feel that I am wasting my talent by not working .I am very god at this type  of nursing. It is wonderful  that someone has thought of this.As an experienced retired nurse   "" I am ready"".I would really like having more information if at all possible.
Posted by: Melissa S
I think that we should now have a certification for the fact that a nurse can breathe since we now have to certify everything that a nurse has already been taught to do & is using as second nature.
Posted by: linda b
Great it's what  I do best what I find most rewarding as a nurse.It is also what will empower the patient and cut down on healthcare costs. Any jobs available I'm first in line!
Posted by: Barb E
This is LONG overdue.  It is finally allowing the nurse - the one that is THE first clinical contact most patients have, the one they see the most and  the longest - and it allows them the time to effectively address and construct  an effective plan of care - involving the  the most important resource of all - the patient !!  WOW - ther is finally a name for what I have been trying to do ...huh - who knew....
Posted by: Kathryn M
I think nurse coaching is a great idea. I just hope it isn't solely for R.N.s as London are very capable of being coaches as well.
Posted by: Sandra M
I am an Addiction certified nurse and Drug and Alcohol counselor, Recovery Coach and Recovery Coach trainer and train the trainer CCAR Model.  Coaching certainly fits for nurses.  Sandra
Posted by: Jacqueline R
I am very interesting in  nurse coaching. Send me  someinformation to get started in this  field.
Posted by: MARIE V
To become a nurse coaching what they required to the student to have and  how long it takes this program;what percentage guaranty after accomplishing the courses to find a job
Posted by: Debra V
I would love to earn a certification in coaching.
Posted by: Lorretta B
I am interested in the course. Please send me your information. Thank you.Lorre
Posted by: Karen W
As a long time home care nurse I have felt that coaching was very helpful for my older patients. It helped them to understand the need to reduce anxiety and fear. They are open to learning how to take care of themselves.
Posted by: Linda N
Would like to become a Nursing coach.  Awesome idea. Very much needed position, woWould improve patients lives.
Posted by: IRWIN R
A nurse-coach is a valuable addition to the DOCTOR.
Posted by: micheal m
Posted by: Leslie R
Nurse coach what a wonderful way of encouraging and enhancimg a patient's abilities to help themselves. It's what we do for our family and friends why not our patients. Improving quality of life in all stages of life.
Posted by: Paula L
I would love to hear more about this opportunity.
Posted by: Nancyh
Sounds goood. Isn't this a new word for patient advocate and patient educators??
Posted by: Karen S
Send me information aboutcontinuing education for nurse coaching credentials.Thank you,karen
Posted by: Sandra W
Posted by: Cindy Y
Love the concept. Would like to give it a try
Posted by: Pamela H
Are there jobs readily available?
Posted by: Madeline S
As a medical consultant for physicians, nurses and medical staff I find this to be exactly what nursing is all about. It is want many years ago nurses did at a time when they were just as respected and regarded as the Doctor him/herself. Nursing is about nurturing, guiding and yes coaching. This only validates the physician's plan to assist the patient to get better but a stronger team with nurse and doctor. One thing most important about coaching is that we are dealing with people first, then symptoms. No different than athletes who are young people first then are coached to be the best they can be both on and off the field to lead a successful, healthy and a positive product of society. Let's face it, professional athletes have coaches for the same reasons patients should have nurse coaches.
Posted by: Judy U
How would one get paid for coaching?
Posted by: sarah h
I think that this is an area of nursing that is greatly needed. I am impressed and would like  to hear more about this
Posted by: Lorna H
I am very much interested in Nurse Coaching. Great concept. Would very much like more information on how to become certified.
Posted by: Dee S
This is a wonderful idea! I have been struggling with my knowledge of homeopathic and holistic alternatives and Big Pharm. when it comes to my patients. I have 20+ yrs of helping people with this (before my licensure). I am excited!
Posted by: Leonore P
I was a health coach for 4 years and the impact especially on my diabetic pt was enormous. With the coaching we were able to gt A1c in a manageable range and pt started to enjoy life again! I would recommend for any nurse to go that way you see positive results and good feed back in a short period of time from your pt.
Posted by: Alice s
A wonderful idea which gives a patients  participatory roles on their health care and promote positive behavior change on attitude and focus towards quality health.
Posted by: Betty R
As a nursing educator, I believe that nurses make excellent health coaches.  I also believe that we are not always good role models.  Job stress, the pace of today's society and poor food choices are factors that hinder being healthy as a nurse.  We need to make good choices for ourselves in order to impact others.  Now is the time to be a good influence.  i would love to work as a health coach.
Posted by: edith m
we've always called itpatient teachingbut in fact"coaching" is a much moredescriptive termlike it a lot
Posted by: louise M
Thank You so much!!!
Posted by: Robert L
Is this recognized by the ANA?  Great approach!
Posted by: Deborah G
Even before achieving my BSN I found that I was using my nursing skills in a coaching capacity. It is encouraging that there is now a certificate program for nurses interested in coaching, but the lack of a piece of paper should not hinder nurses from using the approach for helping patients heal.
Posted by: Linda S
This is wonderful news, especially for older nurses who have been doing this most of their careers but as you say with only list for patients to take home and no one there to help them follow through and give them the encouragement they need to succeed.
Posted by: Sherry M. A
You are right, nurses have been coaches, because that is what we do, however how is that going to make a nurse like myself more marketable.I don't have money to take another class to certify me as competent for what I do.
Posted by: Anna L
This is definitely a specialty that has a promising future in the preventive care focus of the Affordable Care Act and Accountable Care Organizations
Posted by: Brenda R
Coaching is something concerned nurses have always done quite naturally.  I'm glad to see it's being recognized as a viable career alternative, especially for older nurses.  With more than 40 years of current experience, I'm definitely interested!
Posted by: Sue H
Since I am interested in alternative & integrative healthcare this does interest me.
Posted by: Anne R
Please send me the information for this certification.
Posted by: Ina T
This article is very informative. As a retired RN, with 30+ years experience, I feel that this new career could offer me a better opportunity to serve the community. I am sure there are others who share the same. Thank you!
Posted by: Gwenda F
The best thing I have ever done....wellness coaching and losing weight, the healthy way.
Posted by: Nancy C
very interesting article.  Nurses have been doing patient education since the the time modern nursing had its beginnings.  It is nice to get credit for something that should be 2nd nature to the nurse
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