Understanding Wellness Coaches

These days, many Americans are struggling with burnout. Just over half of American workers report that they’re dealing with the stress, anxiety, and sheer exhaustion of burnout, including 49% of Registered Nurses under the age of 30 and 40% of RNs over 30

But as a nurse, this is probably no surprise to you, right? Now, because you’re a medical professional, you know exactly what to do when you’re feeling out of balance: you find out what the problem is (diagnose), study your solutions, and treat. 

And if you’re like us, you’ve probably seen the same word pop up over and over again whenever you study burnout: wellness.

Every article you read on burnout will tell you that it’s time to reprioritize your own wellness, right?

“Wellness” feels different from terms like “medicine.” It evokes health at a deeper, more holistic level. It moves beyond the body to treat the mind, spirit, and emotions, creating a new kind of calm, happy, and healthy lifestyle that many of us would envy.

Frankly, it’s a lifestyle that we all deserve — and it’s one that Americans are seeking out in droves. 

About 38% of American adults use alternative medicine, ranging from regular yoga to acupuncture treatments, to achieve greater wellness in their lives. Many of these individuals work with a wellness coach to reach their goals. In fact, the global health coach industry is expected to be worth 27.8 billion dollars (USD) by the end of this decade! 

But what IS a wellness coach

How do they help their patients improve their health? 

And, perhaps most importantly, how can we nurses use alternative medicine to avoid burnout for both our patients and ourselves?   

Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a wellness coach.

What is a Wellness Coach?

First things first: Let’s define the term “wellness coach.” A wellness coach is a guide who helps patients set and achieve specific health goals. They typically receive training in areas like nutrition, preventative medicine, and other forms of lifestyle medicine. 

Wellness coaches can work with patients to teach goal-setting techniques for specific health milestones (lose weight, manage stress, avoid burnout, etc.), and then encourage their patients and hold them accountable for reaching those milestones. This can be very effective for helping patients achieve a greater state of overall wellness, which is why wellness coaching is becoming so popular in recent years.

However, it is important to mention that wellness coaches are different from Nurse Coaches. While anyone can call themselves a “wellness coach,” a nurse coach goes through medical licensing and offers a more robust understanding of healthcare. Patients who want to achieve very specific health goals — for example, someone who wants to treat chronic pain through alternative medicine and lifestyle interventions — would be better served seeing a wellness nurse, who will have a more complete understanding of their patient’s unique health needs.

Wellness Coaching vs. Nurse Coaching

If you’re familiar with our field of Nurse Coaching, that all might seem a bit confusing. After all, don’t Nurse Coaches do all those things, too? 

Yes! Health coaches, wellness coaches, and Nurse Coaches all encourage their patients to reach their health goals. All these coaches use lifestyle medicine like meditation, plant-based nutrition, and exercise to help their patients develop healthier bodies, minds, and spirits. In fact, many of our fellow nurses have become certified nurse coaches with a focus on health and wellness (the Health and Wellness Nurse Coach – Board Certified, or HWNC-BC).

But we Nurse Coaches have one distinct advantage over other professionals in the health coaching field: We are licensed medical professionals with a nationally accredited Board Certification to support our coaching practice.

Health coaching is not a regulated industry, and people can become wellness coaches without getting a board certification. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, anyone can teach the benefits of mindfulness or yoga, and many people can achieve greater wellness by working with a health coach. But the truth is… it can be downright dangerous to trust just anyone with your most vital asset: your health!

This is why we nurses have a leg up in this industry because we have already gone through years of medical training. We have the education, the hands-on patient experience, and the training required to perform all the duties of a Registered Nurse.

Why does this matter? Because six out of every 10 Americans have a chronic illness. The patients we see want to achieve health in a natural way (and in most cases, they can), but they still need to work with someone who understands their condition, their medications, and their health goals so they can help create a path to success. 

People with chronic illnesses can certainly benefit from wellness-based treatment, but they also need medical care from someone with the knowledge and experience to treat their conditions — someone like a board-certified Nurse Coach.

Nurse Coaches bring a different level of understanding to their clients. With nurse coaching, it’s not JUST about lifestyle medicine. We use our medical training to improve our patients’ health at the moment while also giving them the skills they need to meet their wellness goals and prevent other conditions from developing. And what’s more than that, we use our high-level Nurse Coach training to have the skills to listen deeply, hold space, and ask the right questions that will truly allow our patients to reach new breakthroughs in their life and health.This type of treatment lasts much longer than traditional healthcare or wellness coaching alone.

Also, Nursing is currently the only profession that offers board certification for coaching. As a Nurse Coach, you can use the experience you’ve gained in the medical field and combine it with the intuitive treatments used in lifestyle medicine. These two fields come together to create a sustainable, holistic kind of health that can change a patient’s life. 

How to Become a Wellness Coach

It’s no secret: Wellness coaching is going to continue to be hugely impactful in the future. But what is the best path for a Nurse who wants to become a wellness coach? 

Without a shadow of doubt, the best way for you to become the most prepared wellness coach is to pursue Nurse Coaching. 

Through a certification course like our Transformative Nurse Coach Certificate Program, you will learn the skills you need to help your patients improve their health and live better, happier lives. And as a Nurse Coach, you’ll gain valuable skills (not to mention work opportunities) that can help you avoid that dreaded burnout that so many of our fellow nurses endure.

Whether you’re a Registered Nurse in need of balance in your life and career or simply someone passionate about health, our certificate program can help you prepare for a career in wellness coaching. Contact us today to learn more about how to become a wellness nurse— and in the meantime, check out our free training to learn how Nurse Coaching can help you “elevate your practice.” 

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