Q: “Why am I tired all the time?”
A: “You need to lose weight.”
Q: “What is this bump on my head?”
A: “You need to eat less.”
Q: “How do I get rid of these hiccups?”
A: “You need to exercise more.”
And so it goes. No matter the problem, the focus is directed at your weight. Obesity bias is common in the healthcare system, and too often shame is the intervention. Imagine instead of being viewed as noncompliant, you are viewed as the expert. Imagine being treated with empathy instead of judgment. Imagine being empowered to take charge of your life.
What is health coaching?
We usually think of coaching related to athletics, but in recent years that science has been applied to other disciplines such as psychology, sociology, nutrition, physical therapy, academia, and nursing. Health coaches are certified by accrediting bodies.
Health coaches understand that change is hard! Rather than just providing information and telling people what to do, health coaches view people as whole beings in body, mind, and spirit. They understand that knowledge alone is not enough, since making the necessary lifestyle changes for good health can be an overwhelming task when trying to go it alone.
Among other outcome measures, studies show nurse health coaches have helped clients:
- Lose weight
- Lower fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol levels, LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), and blood pressure
- Improve activity levels and psychological well-being
How does a health coach promote personal transformation?
There are many theorists in nursing who provided a foundation for coaching since that role is a natural one for nursing. Of interest is a philosophical framework called the Theory of Integrative Nurse Coaching (TINC). This theory provides an evidence-based model of care that impacts the health and wellness of clients as well as the nurse.
Personal transformation involves healing of the whole person by making positive lifestyle changes through self-awareness and development. Based on the TINC framework, interventions used by a nurse coach may include:
- Appreciative Inquiry
- Art and Drawing
- Client Assessments
- Deep Listening
- Energy Practices
- Goal Setting
- Guided Imagery
- Humor and Laughter
- Mindfulness Practice
- Motivational Interviewing
- Music and Sound
- Nature Walks
- Relaxation Modalities
- Self-Care Interventions