Wellness Nurse Coaches perform many of the same duties that registered nurses do, but they focus their practice on the wellbeing of their patients, which is why they are frequently called a Registered Nurse Health Coach. Wellness Nurses work to improve the health and wellbeing of their patients using a holistic approach.
An RN Health Coach will take into consideration the client’s current health condition and help their client reach an optimal level of perceived health. This frequently involves teaching the client lifestyle changes. In some cases, clients reach out to RN Health Coaches on their own, in other cases doctors will refer their patients to RN Health Coaches, and in some cases employers will provide employees with a referral to a coach.
Registered Nurse Health Coaches believe in a holistic approach that commonly addresses eight areas of life:
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The Registered Nurse Health Coach partners with the client to establish a plan involving goals that the client will work to achieve in order to reach their optimal level of perceived wellness. It is common for the coaching to begin with educating the client about the disease process. Lifestyle changes, medication, diet, and exercise are then discussed. After a plan has been established, the Registered Nurse Health Coach will continue work with the patient to create an environment of success. If roadblocks arise, the patient and coach will work to find solutions.
While working with the patient directly will typically make up the majority of the coaching provided, if there are other people in the client’s life that need to be involved, such as people in work settings, family, or social circles, the Registered Nurse Health Coach will guide the people in these areas of the client’s life as to how to best work with the patient to reach the desired outcome.
Many Registered Nurse Health Coaches have had years, if not decades, working in traditional clinical environments before becoming a health coach. This is a benefit for the patients and healthcare providers that work with the patient because the RN Health Coach can bridge what is frequently a gap between medical recommendations and the implications these changes will mean to the patient’s lifestyle. To aid in creating a health care plan that is best for the individual, sometimes an RN Health Coach will communicate with a healthcare provider as an advocate for the patient when the health coach learns about complications the patient is experiencing while attempting to improve their health.
HealthyPeople.gov, from the office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, is working toward improving the health of all Americans through science-based, 10-year national objectives. HealthyPeople.gov is in line with the approach that Registered Nurse Health Coaches apply in their practice by setting forth goals to improve lives through health equity as well as social and physical environments that promote good health and improved quality of life. This initiative, and others similar to it, is a strong indicator that Registered Nurse Health Coaching will continue to grow as a profession.
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