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A nurse in a blue scrub top and badge provides coaching to a smiling elderly man in a blue shirt, holding a tablet in a clinic office, demonstrating a patient-centered approach in nursing.

Is Nurse Coaching Right for You?

3 min readFebruary, 09 2024

What Is a Nurse Coach and How Do You Become One?

A nurse coach is a registered nurse (RN) who has received further training in the field of nurse coaching. Training includes developing coaching methods, communication skills, and ways to support behavioral changes. A career as a nurse coach may be especially appealing to nurses who experience burnout and fatigue associated with bedside nursing but want to continue providing compassionate care.

The Benefits of Nurse Coaching

Becoming a nurse coach lets you explore new opportunities outside a hospital or health facility while utilizing your knowledge and expertise in patient care. Explore some of the positive benefits of making this transition.

Skill Development

Nurse coaches assist nurses in honing skills and competencies like critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership abilities.

Renewed Sense of Purpose

Nurse coach programs help nursing professionals gain fulfillment and purpose by aligning their work with their strengths and values.


Another benefit of nurse coaching is that you’re often in charge of your own hours. This flexibility gives you time to develop personalized treatment plans for each client. Because nurse coaches work with clients longer than they would in the hospital setting, they typically become more invested in a patient's well-being and self-improvement.

Leadership Development

If you want to play an essential role in developing future nursing leaders, becoming a nurse coach can help you cultivate the qualities necessary for effective leadership.

How to Determine if Nurse Coaching Is Right for You

Think about your personal and professional goals to determine if a career switch makes sense. Besides understanding what a nurse coach does, consider factors such as the location, salary, and what it takes to become a nurse coach.

Where Do Nurse Coaches Work?

Nurse coaches work in various health care environments like hospitals, clinics, and corporate settings, where they help clients accomplish lifestyle goals, including weight, fitness, and stress management.

How Much Does a Nurse Coach Make?

According to Zip Recruiter, a nurse coach can expect to make, on average, around $41K a year. And board-certified RN nurse health coaches can earn over $91K annually. Salaries vary depending on where you live, your experience and certifications, and the type of employer.

Keep in mind that becoming a nurse coach may require obtaining a business license, acquiring clients, and marketing yourself.

How Long Is the Nurse Coach Certification Process?

Becoming a board-certified nurse coach requires additional knowledge and skills. For example, some board-certified nurse coaches may learn alternative treatments such as aromatherapy, guided imagery, or massage. The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) offers two nurse coach certifications: NC-BC® (Nurse Coach – Board Certified) and HWNC-BC® (Health and Wellness Nurse Coach – Board Certified). The NC-BC and HWNC-BC exams are the same, but you must hold AHNCC Holistic Certification for an HWNC-BC. Certification entails several months of independent coursework with a board-certified nurse coach and meetings with other nursing students and teachers. Many nurse coaches get their certification while working full-time jobs.

The Client Is in Charge — but Set Boundaries

A focused nurse coach takes notes during a one-on-one session with another nurse, who appears thoughtful and engaged, in a warmly lit office setting.

Nurses who nurture the coach-patient relationship are likely to succeed in the field. However, the dynamic is different. You can develop a collaborative plan as a nurse coach, but it's up to the client to follow your instructions. Those who find it difficult to deviate from "standard care" may find nurse coaching challenging. But nurses who are patient and objective when assessing client readiness for change — and thrive on finding the unique combination of modalities that work best for everyone — can find great success.

The coach-patient relationship also involves setting boundaries. A client may disclose sensitive information about family dynamics, personal habits, or addictions at a level that exceeds other areas of nursing practice. Responding professionally to these situations requires discretion, compassion, and confidentiality.

Becoming a nurse coach is a personal choice. Decide if a career in nurse coaching aligns with your aspirations. If you want to empower nurses to excel in their careers, enhance their well-being, and reach their full potential, transitioning to a nurse coach program can be rewarding and fulfilling.


Images sourced from Getty Images

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