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Nurse Coaching for Nurses

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC

An exciting new role for nurses has begun to take hold, and it’s one that makes perfect sense: Nurse coaching.

Nurse coaches work with clients to identify goals and take actionable steps towards those goals. Goals can be as specific as wanting a career change or wanting to lose weight, or as general as wanting something to change, even if the client isn’t sure what that something might be.

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, otherwise known as Nurse Keith, is a prominent nursing voice in the social media arena. He writes for a variety of nursing publications, including his own blog, Digital Doorway. You may recognize his voice from RN.FM radio, an Internet radio station devoted to the nursing profession that he co-founded and co-hosts. Nurse Keith also is a Board Certified Nurse Coach (NC-BC) who’s passionate about helping nurses find satisfaction in their personal and professional lives.

Nurse Keith believes that nursing and coaching are closely linked. “Any nurse is a natural coach since our nursing education trains us to ask questions, listen to the patient, and watch for areas of understanding, lack of knowledge, and room for teaching. We are also very skilled at reading body language and assessing a patient’s level of self-awareness and desire for growth and change,” he said.

Nurse coaching may be an area of interest if you’re looking for a career change. But did you know that nurses can also greatly benefit from receiving coaching, as a client?

“Nurses can benefit from coaching in a variety of ways, depending on the goal that the nurse is desiring to achieve. Career coaches can assist the nurse in moving his or her career forward, whether it be as a new nurse or as a seasoned nurse looking for change or advancement. (I personally recommend a career coach who is also a nurse.) There are also coaches who specialize in entrepreneurship, and this can assist a nurse who is considering pursuing an entrepreneurial venture of some kind. Nurses also can work with weight-loss coaches, financial coaches, life coaches, spiritual coaches or coaches who specialize in burnout prevention or burnout recovery,” he said.

If you feel stuck in a rut, close to burnout, or have a goal you’d like some assistance with, working with a nurse coach may be the next step for you.

Nurse Keith’s Tips for Finding the Right Coach for You

Stick with a trained and certified coach.

Nurse Keith says that while it’s not essential, a trained and certified coach likely has a variety of skills and tools to bring to the table, while an untrained coach may not.

Look for a coach who specializes in your needs.

If you’re looking for a career change, a nurse or healthcare professional coach can help you navigate those waters. If you’d like to lose weight or change your lifestyle, a weight loss or health coach will be able to assist you most effectively. There also are spiritual and general life coaches out there, who can help you decide what the next step in your life might be, if you’re not quite sure.

Take a test drive.

The majority of coaches will offer a brief complimentary session to figure out whether the coach and client will be a good fit.

 

Wondering how to tell if your coach is working effectively with you?

Nurse Keith’s Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Coaching

Effective coaches Do:

  • act as an equal, co-creative partner with the client
  • listen intently
  • set goals, help move toward those goals, and reevaluate the plan as needed
  • reflect what is heard back to the client
  • assign tasks or “homework” to the client that will help then achieve their goals
  • refer you to another coach if they feel their style may not work with you

Effective coaches Don’t:

  • view coaching as psychotherapy
  • diagnose or treat medical or psychological issues

YOUR TURN:

Are you a nurse coach? If not, is it something that interests you? Would you ever considering hiring a nurse coach to help you facilitate change in your life?

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Monica Rodriguez #

    Do insurance reimburse for this service?

    March 23, 2014
  2. Jan #

    There are lots of health & wellness coaching programs out there. Good idea to look for one that leads to Board Certification for nurse coaching, although it’s not essential. As Keith said, a trained and certified coach brings alot to the table.
    I attended an excellent integrative nurse coaching program, the only coaching program taught by nurses for nurses. Check out the Integrative Nurse Coach Association website for details: http://inursecoach.com.

    March 19, 2014
  3. Coaches can be found through coaching organizations, like the International Coach Federation (ICF), the International Association of Professional Life Coaches, or the International Nurse Coach Association, to name just a few! It’s also good to find coaches through Facebook groups, Linked In, or personal or professional referrals.

    March 19, 2014
  4. Is this done remotely or face-to-face?

    March 16, 2014
    • Coaching can be done by phone, Skype or in person, and I do all three!

      March 19, 2014
  5. How do I find a coach?

    March 15, 2014
  6. How does one become a nurse coach?

    March 15, 2014
    • Brandy, nurse coaching is a new designation, and the credential (Board Certified Nurse Coach) is bestowed on you by the American Holistic Nurse Credentialing Corporation. If you go to http://inursecoach.com, that will help you learn more, or visit the AHNCC website for more information as well. I recommend studying either with my mentor Linda Bark of the Bark Coaching Institute (www.barkcoaching.com/‎) or my friend and colleague Barbie Dossey of Inursecoach.com.

      March 19, 2014
  7. laurie stargel rn #

    So my question is…how do I get started?

    March 15, 2014
    • Laurie, please see my reply above for the answer to your question!

      March 19, 2014
  8. I would be interested in having a coach and also becoming a nurse coach

    March 15, 2014
  9. I’m so honored to be featured in this article! Thank you!

    March 11, 2014
    • Meaghan O'Keeffe, RN, BSN #

      Our pleasure. You’re an inspiration to nurses everywhere!

      March 12, 2014
      • Lee #

        Great article. Yes, as nurses we coach regularly on a day to day basis. But how does one become certified?

        March 16, 2014
        • Lee, see my response above. It is through the AHNCC that one becomes certified and there are several ways to go about it.

          March 19, 2014