What do you get if you cross a life coach with a nursing professional? You end up with a master of the nursing craft uniquely positioned to help clients achieve their goals. Known as nurse health coaches, they combine healing methods with coaching techniques to support clients in their health and wellness objectives. A nurse health coach uses a mix of conventional and holistic treatment options designed to provide a comprehensive foundation for success.
In this article, we will explore:
- What does a nurse health coach do?
- Where do nurse health coaches work?
- How do you become a nurse health coach?
- Are nurse health coach certifications mandatory?
- What are the salary and job outlooks for nurse health coaches?
What does a nurse health coach do?
Like other nursing professionals, nurse health coaches commit to putting the health and well-being of their patients first. Unlike traditional nurses, a nurse health coach’s methods involve more than the administration of hands-on health care and services.
Nurse health coaches take on all aspects of their client’s health and wellness needs. They can advocate for the approval of health services and procedures on their patients’ behalf or educate clients and their families about health conditions.
Looking at the big picture, nurse health coaches do more than assess immediate health needs. They also can:
- Help patients make informed decisions about their health needs and lifestyles
- Motivate clients to stick with their health and wellness plans
- Speak with doctors and other medical providers to communicate patient expectations
- Strategize treatment plans that include wellness goals
Holistic medicine considers the whole person – body, emotions, mind, and spirit. As holistic practitioners, nurse health coaches must account for academic goals, physical needs, psychological well-being, socio-economic status, and spirituality.
Where do nurse health coaches work?
Most traditional nurses work for health services providers like hospitals, home healthcare services, and physician offices. While there is some adaptability in their work environment, they do not enjoy the same level of freedom as nurse health coaches. There is ample flexibility in where a nurse health coach can work. Some choose employment with health insurance companies, while others opt to work as independent consultants.
Wherever they choose to work, nurse health coaches must be good listeners and skilled communicators. They will use their talents to help patients adapt to chronic health issues and become active participants in creating and meeting their health and wellness goals.
How do you become a nurse health coach?
It takes several years of education and the right nursing license to work in this innovative health career. Nurse health coaches must learn the basics of healthcare while picking up essential techniques for relationship building with their clients. They must also prioritize learning skills that position them to identify a patient’s issues and craft a set of goals and opportunities to overcome them.
Nurse health coaches must become licensed registered nurses (RNs) to work in their field. While a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is not required to become an RN, taking this extra step adds validity to your occupational expertise. Many employers prefer a nurse health coach with a BSN versus an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). There is a popular bridge program that allows you to go from an ADN to a BSN in as little as 12-18 months.
It takes four years to earn a BSN from an accredited nursing program. Once you complete your BSN, you are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The test includes between 75 and 256 questions to test your nursing knowledge and skills. You have six hours to complete the exam, including scheduled break times.
The next step is to gain relevant work experience. You can apply for entry-level nurse health coach positions or work as an RN in any healthcare setting.
Are nurse health coach certifications mandatory?
Nurse health coach certification is recommended but not required by most employers. Pursuing certification adds a layer of expertise to your resume, making you a more attractive candidate. Nurses can apply for two types of nurse health coach certification:
Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program: This certificate is offered by the International Nurse Coach Association and consists of a two-part process that tests your ability to perform conventional healthcare. To qualify for this certification, you must be an RN with two years of relevant experience. You also must hold a BSN, complete 60 contact hours, and have 60 hours of coaching experience.
Holistic Nurse Board Certified (HN-BC): The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) tests your knowledge of alternative medicine practices such as aromatherapy and yoga. To qualify, you must have your RN license, one year of full-time holistic nursing experience, 40 hours of continuing education units in holistic nurse practices, and a degree from a nationally-accredited nursing program.
What are the salary and job outlooks for nurse health coaches?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average base pay for an RN Health Coach is about $60,000. Some of the highest wage earners gross $103,500. The top cities for nurse health coach annual salaries include San Jose, CA at $77,669 and Tanaina, AK at $76,427.
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With more people making health and wellness a priority, the need for nurse health coaches will continue to grow. Check out all the available job openings for this exciting nursing career on the Incredible Health Jobs Board.
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