A New Role for Nurses--Coaching

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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 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Mary B
    Mary B
    Loved it
  • Sharen S
    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.
  •  Stephanie G
    Stephanie G
    Great Idea !
  • Mary Ann D
    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
  • Irene J
    Irene J
    That sounds great for a "new" role for the LPN.
  • Bradley R
    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.
  • Janet s
    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
  • Sandra K
    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.
  • Alex Kecskes
    Alex Kecskes
    For more info and FAQs, go here: http://www.ahncc.org/aboutahncc/faqs.htmland click on AHNCC handbook.
  • emily M
    emily M
    Where do i sign up?
  • Mike L
    Mike L
    The ART and SCIENCE of Nurse Coaching?? Really?? Isn't this what nurses generally do without extra initials next to their name?
  • Maureen L
    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.
  • Caroline G
    Caroline G
    sounds very interesting
    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.
  • Cheryl c
    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
  • shannon c
    shannon c
    Excellant!!! Such a good way to utilize nursing talents in another way.
  • Irene J
    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.
  • Irene J
    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.
    I like it. I am already doing these. I am seeing Clients who are morbid obese, and diabetics
  • Winifred S
    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.
  • Diane C
    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.
  • Cheryl R
    Cheryl R
    Where do I start!?!
  • Tina D
    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.
  • Penny S
    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.
  • Judy P
    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.

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