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How to become a nurse coach


I’m sure you’ve heard of various types of coaching careers these days. You might even know someone who is a coach. Maybe they are a life coach or a health and wellness coach. So what does coaching have to do with nursing?

Do you know that as a nurse, there is a form of coaching that can set you apart from others? There is a little known but increasingly popular specialist area of ​​nursing known as nursing coaching. In fact, there are two nationally recognized certifications available for RNs in nursing coaching.

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What is nursing coaching

According to published studies, “Professional nurse coaching is a skilled, focused, results-oriented, structured, relationship-focused interaction with clients provided by registered nurses with the goal of promoting the achievement of clients’ goals, by first establishing a co-creative partnership with the client where the client is the expert, and then identifying the client’s priorities and areas of change to achieve the client’s goals. »

In a nutshell, a nurse coach works with a client from a holistic approach to promote health and wellness while helping the client achieve a specific goal. The customer is considered the expert when it comes to their needs. The nurse coach focuses on the client’s strengths rather than weaknesses and provides support and resources throughout the coaching contract.

Certifications are offered

Currently, the American Holistic Nursing Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) offers two types of nurse coaching certifications:

  • NC-BC – Certified by the Council of Nursing Coaches
  • HWNC-BC – Certified by the Health and Wellness Nurses Board of Directors

To apply and qualify for the HWNC-BC credential, you must be a Certified Nurse Coach AND a Certified Holistic Nurse.

Exam Requirements

To take the certification exam, you must first apply to AHNCC and be approved for the test. The exam requirements are a bit different depending on the highest nursing degree you currently hold.

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): You must have worked full-time for at least 2 years OR part-time for the past 5 years for a total of 4,000 hours.
  • Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): You must have worked full-time for 4 years OR part-time for the past 7 years for a total of 8,000 hours.
  • International Diploma in Nursing: AHNCC will review international credentials to determine their equivalency with United States (US) nursing programs.
  • All nurses: You must have an active, unlimited license in the United States. Your degree must also be from an accredited academic institution or be assessed by AHNCC if it is an international degree.

A minimum of 60 CNEs over the last 3 years is required. CNEs must be relevant to the core values ​​and competencies of nurse coaches. Academic credits must be a “C” grade or better or “pass” if the credit is pass/fail.

You must be supervised and/or supervised by a Certified Supervisory Nurse Coach for a total of 60 hours AND have a letter of validation from a Certified Nurse Coach.

Once you have met all of the above requirements and attested to CHANC Applicant Agreement, you can submit your application and await testing approval.

You can find the above requirements at: https://www.ahncc.org/certification/holistic-nurse-coach/

The future of nursing coaching

Effective July 1, 2022, nursing coaching now has its own Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) category code. It is now classified as a Category III code. So what does this mean exactly? A CPT code is issued by the American Medical Association (AMA). It sets standards for documentation and invoicing of services or insurance reimbursement procedures.

A Category III code is a temporary code used for data collection to determine the effectiveness of a service. Nursing coaching is not yet reimbursable by insurance, but it could very well be in the near future! The nursing coaching outcome should be assigned a Category I code, which is a permanent code. It can take up to 5 years of data collection and research for a service to receive a Category I CPT code. However, when assigned a Category I CPT code, insurance reimburses nurse coaches for their services.

AHNA and AHNCC will continue to recruit nurse coaches to participate in the studies necessary to prove the effectiveness of nurse coaching in an ongoing effort to achieve a CPT Category I code in the future.

How exciting is that? Imagine if you got into nursing coaching now, when it was still in its infancy! You could be one of the first pioneers!
Now is the time to explore your options with nursing coaching. Be a different coach! Get accredited and be a nurse coach!