The Difference Between Health and Wellness

Oct 20, 2021

As nurses, we’ve heard the words “health and wellness” a million times (especially in recent years, when they’ve grown into an industry worth $1.5 trillion). These two words are inextricably linked.o much so, that you’ve probably used them interchangeably while talking with your patients. However, there are some notable distinctions between these two concepts that we’d like to shine some light on

To break it down as simply as possible, “health” refers to your state of being (how fit your body and mind are), while “wellness” refers to the practice of healthy living. But of course, the full distinction between health vs. wellness is much more complex than that — and that is what we’re here to unpack.

What is Health?

The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” 

Health is) everyone’s goa. When you’re healthy, your body and mind are working effectively, helping you feel better than you ever have in your life. 

It’s important to note that health can mean different things for different patients (or even the same patient at different times in their life)..

What is Wellness?

So, how do we achieve great health? It’s time to look at the other part of the equation: wellness. If health is our ultimate goal, wellness refers to the various methods we use to achieve it. Wellness encompasses many modalities — nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindfulness — but they all work together to serve a person’s greater health and well-being. 

In the same way that health is not the same for every patient, wellness doesn’t look the same for everyone either. While a plant-based diet and regular exercise might be enough for one person, another might require and/or desire  medication to manage their blood pressure or mental health. 

Health, Wellness, and Nurse Coaching

Here’s a description I really love. The Art & Science of Nurse Coaching describes health as “An individually defined state of process in which the individual experiences a sense of growth, harmony, or unity.”

In contrast, wellness is described as “a desirable quality of life that provides satisfaction; a multi-dimensional state of existence experienced as well-being; integrated, congruent functioning aimed towards reaching one’s highest potential.”

What does all of this have to do with Nurse Coaching? Well, as Nurse Coaches we work with clients to improve both.

Why Health and Wellness Matter

As you can see, health and wellness are two concepts that are closely associated. And that’s why the medical field shouldn’t focus on health vs. wellness, but rather health and wellness

As Nurse Coaches, we have a responsibility to educate and encourage our patients. We’re not here to manage their care for them; we’re here to show them the wellness tools they can use to improve their health on their own. 

This is why we strive to develop a deep relationship with our clients. Instead of offering a cookie-cutter approach based on the standard model of care’s definition of health, we can offer various wellness modalities that will point our patients on the path to health — but at their own pace and in a way that makes them comfortable.

Of course, we all want our patients to be as healthy as possible, as soon as possible. . We are nurses, after all. We’ve seen the devastating effects that poor health and wellness can have on people’s lives, and we would never wish that on any of our patients.

But here’s the reality: Health is always more sustainable when the patient enjoys and participates in the process. That’s why it’s so important to understand the difference between health and wellness and explore alternative wellness modalities that can inspire your patients to fall in love with getting healthy.

And guess what? That understanding and those wellness tools are exactly what you’ll gain when you become a Nurse Coach.

Help Your Patients Improve Their Health and Wellness

Are you ready to help your patients take their health and wellness to the next level? The Transformative Nurse Coach Certificate Program will give you the skills you need to become a board-certified Nurse Coach. Our seven-month online course is designed to help you earn 120 contact hours and prepare you to sit for the Holistic Nurse – Board Certified AND the Nurse Coach – Board Certified exams.

And when you pass both of those exams (which you will, when you train with us) – your title becomes Health and Wellness Nurse Coach – Board Certified (HWNC-BC).

During our program, you’ll work with like-minded nurses who are as passionate about health and wellness as you are. You’ll become a client yourself, working with your own Nurse Coach to see the process in action and get a chance to work toward your own goals. You’ll  integrate wellness practices into your own life, making nurse burnout a thing of the past. And best of all, you’ll be able to use your training, both as a nurse and as a coach, to help your patients reach their health goals in a sustainable, holistic, and (most importantly) enjoyable way. 

Check out our free training to learn more about Nurse Coaching and the power it holds for both you and your patients. Or, if you want to hear from nurses just like you, check out our Facebook group to connect with practicing and aspiring Nurse Coaches! 


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