As more people recognize the value of nutrition in the healthcare industry, Health Coaches are becoming more common in healthcare spaces than ever before. In a hospital or physician’s office, Health Coaches work alongside a care team of doctors and nurses to incorporate nutrition and other beneficial lifestyle practices into clients’ care plans.
Medical professionals have begun to dive into the world of health coaching to better incorporate holistic practices into traditional medicine. Nurses in particular have begun completing health coaching courses like IIN’s Health Coach Training Program to gain a better understanding of whole-person health. So how are Nurse Health Coaches different from nurses or Health Coaches, and how can they assist their patients differently?
What do Nurse Health Coaches do?
Nurse Health Coaches advocate for the health and well-being of patients. Their range of services includes:
- Utilizing their training to help patients achieve a holistic lifestyle
- Collaborating with patients to set wellness goals
- Empowering patients to achieve wellness goals
Healthcare nurses support patients in making beneficial and informed decisions about their lifestyle, health needs, and treatment plans. Part of their role is to speak with doctors to communicate what a patient needs, what they want, and how they can achieve a better level of health.
Nurse Health Coaches are both nurses and wellness experts who help others feel their best through personalized lifestyle changes that meet unique dietary, emotional, and physical goals and needs. These coaches work with clients to help them discover how to fuel their bodies, live healthy lifestyles, and find the best wellness and health routines that work for them. Nurse Health Coaches combine the medical expertise of nurses with the holistic wellness knowledge of Health Coaches.
Dietitians and nutritionists can recommend specific dietary plans and supplements; Nurse Health Coaches can help mentor patients on how to integrate these recommended changes into their lives the best way possible.
Becoming a Nurse Health Coach
In order to become a Nurse Health Coach, there is some education required as you need a nursing degree to become a nurse. Many nurses start by getting their bachelors of science in nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university. But there are many paths to entering the field of nursing. People pursuing a career in nursing can also attend a community college or two-year program to receive their associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).
Aspiring nurses with at least an associate’s degree can go on to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Once students pass the NCLEX and complete all other requirements, they are granted the registered nurse (RN) designation. The BSN path is just one way to become a nurse. Many nurses achieve their ADN, become registered nurses, then go back later in their careers to achieve their BSN.
Once an RN, you need to earn a health coaching certificate from a training program, like IIN’s Health Coach Training Program, to become a Nurse Health Coach.
The cost of training
The cost of a nursing education can vary wildly, depending on the type of program you choose, the length of the program, and whether you’re attending full- or part-time. The cost of the program also varies by school and can differ if you’re attending an in-state or out-of-state program. As of 2019, the average cost of an ADN program was $10,000 per year. The average BSN program cost $40,000, with some private universities charging up to $100,000.
The cost of health coaching programs also varies, depending on the type – whether online or in person, support offered, study materials provided, program duration, and much more. Depending on your personal and career goals and budget, cost is something you’ll consider when deciding which nursing and health coaching avenue to pursue.
How long does it take to become a Nurse Health Coach?
Depending on the nursing program you’re completing, obtaining a nursing certificate or degree can take anywhere from two to four years. After getting an RN certification, BSN degree, or other nursing certification, most health coaching programs range from six months to one year. While completing coursework quickly sounds great, getting a well-rounded, complete education is important to set you up for success after graduation. IIN’s Health Coach Training Program is offered in two paces – six months and one year – to give you the flexibility to complete your health coach training on your schedule.
Where do Nurse Health Coaches work?
Like other nurses, many Nurse Health Coaches will work in hospital or private practice settings, either with a team of medical professionals or as their own boss. Nurse Health Coaches can also work in:
- Schools, colleges, and universities
- Insurance companies
- One-on-one or group counseling sessions, either online or in person
Within these capacities, Nurse Health Coaches have the opportunity to work with patients in non-clinical settings to provide medical advice, support, and education. These settings can allow for a more personalized connection between coaches and patients.
Depending on their setting, the workday for Nurse Health Coaches can vary. If they’re working in a hospital or clinical setting, workdays may look similar to that of a nurse. They may also recommend non-medicinal therapies to their patients, balancing the traditional background of nursing with the holistic approach of health coaching. These can include things like aromatherapy, sound therapy, meditation, and using yoga as physical therapy.
Salary and employment outlook
As of 2020, the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) was around $75,000 per year, or about $36/hour. The field of nursing is expected to grow by 221,900 jobs by the year 2029, and the coronavirus pandemic has only expanded the need for nurses. The job market for nurses is expected to grow 7% year over year – much faster than the national average – as the number of people suffering from chronic conditions and the demand for healthcare services from an aging world population continue to grow.
Takeaways and helpful resources
As an increasing number of people recognize the benefit and value health coaching brings to improving well-being, contributing to lower healthcare costs, and reducing the rate of chronic disease, the demand for Health Coaches is growing.
If you’re a nurse, currently working toward a nursing degree, or looking to get into nursing, becoming a Nurse Health Coach is an option you can explore. Nurse Health Coaches provide a unique experience for their patients, combining a traditional medical education with the unique wellness perspective of a Health Coach.