Why Is The Integrative Nurse Coach The Future Of Healthcare?

by | Dec 3, 2017 | Nurse Coaching

Every nurse knows that change is an inevitability of our profession.

This rapid evolution occurs within our departments, organizations, the nursing profession and the medical system as a whole.

So undoubtedly, our present paradigm of care will undergo profound change in the up-and-coming years.

Especially given the declining state of health in our nation, coupled with the massive number of nurses who are experiencing burnout and high levels of stress in our jobs.

As a nurse, you are the face of the world’s most trusted profession and the backbone of the medical system. Because of this, you are perfectly poised to lead this charge towards a healthier future.

So let’s look at why an integrative nurse coach is the future of healthcare.

Costs Are Out Of Control

According to the CDC, 86% of our nations 2.7 trillion dollar annual healthcare expenditure goes directly towards managing chronic illness and mental health conditions.

Say what?

Yet we continue to do very little differently. We’re living in this insane healthcare cycle where we refuse to stand up to the status quo and do something that will actually disrupt the model.

Instead, we think that the newest surgery, technology, or medication will be the end-all and be-all, curing illness as we know it and finally putting an end to the “battle against chronic disease.”

But what if we stop putting all our efforts into fighting the bad, and start promoting the good?

What if we nurses decided to do something completely different?

What if we were brave enough to stand up to the status quo and focus our efforts on health and wellness promotion?

Healthcare Has Reached A Breaking Point

If more than 80% of the chronic disease and mental health issues in the US are highly preventable and often (and in some cases completely) reversible, then what the hell are we doing spending so much time, money, and energy on reactive care?

While I ain’t usually one to quote Florence Nightingale (AKA Flo’), when she said that hospitals were only meant to be an ‘intermediary stage of civilization’, she wasn’t kidding.

Our refusal to completely disrupt the present model of care has reached a breaking point.

As an integrative nurse coach, you are perfectly poised to take charge of completely shifting the healthcare paradigm to one in which we help our patients become empowered to take personal responsibility for their wellbeing.

The Coaching Industry Is Booming

The wellness industry is a $3.72 trillion industry, while the coaching industry is worth nearly $2 billion.

In fact, these are two of the fastest growing industries out there right now, and people are seeking this type of work more and more.

As an integrative nurse coach, you have the knowledge, the skills, the experience, and the mindsets necessary to be situated at the very top of this booming industry.

Consumers Want Hyper-Personalized Care

38% of US adults are seeking alternative medicine, and those numbers will only continue to rise. The cookie cutter approach to diagnose, treat, and street doesn’t work, and people are starting to demand more.

Our patients not only want more, they deserve better.

They deserve real solutions to the problems that are keeping them stuck in a cycle of illness, and that’s exactly what an integrative nurse coach provides them.

Lifestyle Design Is Incredibly Effective

I’ve recently become the co-chair for the Northwest region of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s nurse outreach program, and I know that this much is true:

Lifestyle design is the most effective way to prevent, treat, and reverse most of the chronic illnesses we are facing in our country.

In fact, up to 80% of all chronic diseases can be treated and cured with healthy lifestyle modifications alone.

An integrative nurse coach works directly with their patients to co-design an individualized plan that will help them make better choices in their day-to-day life.

The areas that we focus on to create the most impact include:

Plant-based nutrition, stress reduction through mindfulness, cultivating strong social relationships, getting enough sleep and exercise, and tobacco cessation.

The truth is, helping our patients to create positive change in these areas will have more of an effect than just about any other intervention.

And when you look at this from a national perspective, wellness promotion is far more effective at disease prevention than the standard “fight disease” model.

An integrative nurse coach understands that we don’t fight diseases, but rather we promote health through helping our clients take personal responsibility for the day-to-day choices that have the greatest impact on their overall health and wellbeing.

We Are Agents Of Change and Fearless Leaders

Big Pharma and Big Food spend untold billions of dollars annually on marketing. From a business standpoint, their only goal keep us fat and sick. That’s how they make money.

Our government is abhorrently slow. And more often than not, they seem to put the wants and needs of massive companies far ahead of the wants and needs of their constituents.

So, we can’t wait on these profit-hungry mongers to change. We must be the change we want to see in the world.

An integrative nurse coach is the future of healthcare because we help our clients rise above the media campaigns that have kept them stuck in these cycles of illness, and step into their healing potential.

Nursing Saw A Gap and Filled It

Like it has done with midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners, nursing is again leading the charge and taking leadership in this much needed field.

As it stands now, coaching is an unregulated profession, which means that anyone, with any certification (or lack thereof), can call themselves a coach.

When you step back and think about “health coaches” dealing with people’s most valuable asset – their health and wellness – with little to no medical training or understanding of human health, it’s terrifying.

An integrative nurse coach, on the other hand, is highly experienced, educated, and trained.

In fact, Nursing is the first licensed profession in the world to create a board certification in nurse coaching.

This means consumers can trust that each and every integrative nurse coach will have undergone expansive training and they are accountable to an overseeing ethical body and scope of practice.

Non-Licensed Health Coaches Can’t Do This Work

Let’s face it:

America is very sick.

Nearly 50% of Americans have a chronic illness. That’s 1 out of 2 people. And many of them have multiple co-morbidities.

Their disease processes are very complicated, and our patients are often on multiple medications and being managed by multiple physicians and specialists.

A non-licensed health coach who does not understand how to navigate the multi-disciplinary team, understand the disease process or the importance of adhering to a disease management plan, simply can’t do this work.

An Integrative Nurse Coach Provides Relationship-Based Care

Our patients want to develop a relationship with their clinicians. It helps patients to reach their healing potential faster and leaves the clinicians with far less burnout. It’s a win – win.

First, it allows you, the clinician, to design your care empathetically.

This means that instead of simply assuming what your patient needs, you have the opportunity to ask them what their goals are, what they want to get out of this visit, and how you can best support them.

This saves you time and energy because you aren’t playing a guessing game and wasting time on care that your patients didn’t value in the first place.

Secondly, by holding space for your patients to be seen and heard, they will experience healing from the professional relationship in ways that conventional approaches simply don’t allow.

You can move beyond simply talking about their disease process, and shift the paradigm to one in which you seek to understand who they are as a human being first (rather than as a disease, or a set of symptoms).

Because at the end of it all, each one of us simply wants to be fully seen and heard. An integrative nurse coach never underestimates how healing this process of holding space can be for your patients.

Telemedicine Is The Way Of The Future

Because an integrative nurse coach knows that empowering your patients to take personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing is far more effective than any pill, this type of work can be done remotely.

This means less patients coming in for expensive hospital visits, and access to anyone with an internet or phone connection.

As an integrative nurse coach, your effectiveness and accessibility allows you to be at the forefront of the future of healthcare.

I hope this article was inspiring and helpful, and I look forward to discussing how we can further advance our profession and stand in solidarity as nurses to heal our planet.

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The Author

Peter Giza is a registered nurse, Board Certified Nurse Coach, and health and wellness expert. In addition to his work with The Nurse Coach Collective, he is an avid outdoorsman, musician, and traveler.

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