Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nurse Coaching: The Next Wave

Plenty of nurses have entered the world of coaching over the last few years, and there are plenty of signs that this new niche for nurses is indeed continuing to expand.

The opportunities are just burgeoning, and many nurses are realizing that there's money to be made---and professional satisfaction to be gained---in the coaching field.

Choose Carefully

Health and wellness coaches have been around for a while, and there are several coaching certification programs offering coach training for nurses and other healthcare professionals who want to leverage their skills in this particular arena.

Having said that, the board certifications in nurse coaching now being offered by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation are the only coach certifications for nurses accepted by the Accreditation Board for Nursing Certification, and this is no small thing. These certifications include:

  • Board Certified Nurse Coach (NC-BC)
  • Board Certified Health and Wellness Nurse Coach (HWNC-BC)

Therefore, if you're a nurse who would like to have the utmost credibility as a coach in a field that's expanding as we speak, don't just jump at the first opportunity that makes itself known to you. Speak with nurses in the coaching field (like me and many others), and pick their brains for what has worked for them. These nurse coaches on the cutting edge of the field have paved the way for you, and knowledge of the mistakes that they have made along the way can help you to avoid some of the same pitfalls.

Opportunities Are Growing

Various insurance companies and third parties are hiring and training nurses to be coaches and case managers, some of whom are actually able to work from home.

Meanwhile, some nurses are setting up shop as "solopreneurs", building websites and creating avenues for finding clients within various population groups. I personally provide career coaching and wellness coaching for nurses, and others have found (or created) other specific niches for themselves.

For eye-opening inspiration and information from two leaders in the nurse coaching field, as well as holistic and integral nursing, listen to the following recent podcast episodes from RNFM Radio:

Linda Bark of Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy:

Barbara Dossey, of the International Nurse Coaching Association (INCA):

  Eyes Wide Open

Nurses, if you want to delve into the coaching world, do your due diligence, learning what you need to learn in order to make an informed choice about training, certification, continuing education, and prospects for employment or self-employment. Active nurse coaches are some of the best sources of information in this regard, so make connections and ask questions.

Although nursing involves a great deal of the same skills as coaching, a career in coaching is certainly not for everyone. One way to learn about coaching is to actually engage in a coaching relationship as a client. Whether it's with a career coach, health and wellness coach, or a life coach, a few sessions may give you a good sense of what it's all about. And remember that many coaches offer a complimentary "meet and greet" session that allows you to get to know them before plunking down some cash.

So, keep your eyes wide open, ask questions, do your research, talk to people, and keep your fingers on the pulse of an area of nursing specialty that is growing by leaps and bounds.

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