Q: Elizabeth, I love your background. Your work sounds so exciting! Can you share with me a bit more about your nursing career path and the professional journey that has led you to your work now as a Spiritual Practice Nurse?

A: Great question. You’re certainly right- it has been a ‘path’. After graduating from the University of Delaware with my degrees in Psychology and Nursing I went to work as a psychiatric nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. For five years I took little to no care of myself, putting everyone else (and work) first. One day I ‘woke up’. I couldn’t live my life in that state of misery any more. I took a huge risk and went to work part-time at a local health club. There my boss encouraged me to go through a coaching program. My first certification in health and wellness coaching was from Wellcoaches and my second was from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Both were very good programs and I’d highly recommend each of them.

Q: I’ve heard you talk on radio programs and other interviews about how you’ve trained with two coaching programs. Why is that and how were the two similar/different?

A: Excellent follow up question, thank you. Yes, as I mentioned above I’ve received my training from Wellcoaches and IIN. Wellcoaches was more the art of coaching. If you think about nursing, you know we speak of the art and science of nursing. Well, Wellcoaches taught me ‘coaching’. I learned about open ended questions, mindful listening and perceptive reflections. I practiced, listened to exemplars and actually learned how to ‘coach’. With IIN there was a heavier focus on the business piece. I received resources related to sales and marketing. They introduced us to building a website, doing workshops and sending an email newsletter. Both programs were virtual and there was a heavy self-paced component yet each did provide small group work, a mentor and further support. You don’t necessarily have to go through multiple programs to get everything you need; you just have to find what works for you.

Q: These days I keep hearing about holistic nurse coaching and board certified nurse coaches. Can you speak to that? Have you done any of those programs?

A: Good question. You are so right. Every time I get on the internet I see another program has hung its shingle. That’s not to say these are really great programs; I’m not knocking them in any way, shape or form. It’s just very confusing out there. And one can get quite overwhelmed with all of the letters and alphabet soup after the last name. You may not like my answer or even agree with me, but what I’ve learned by being in business for several years now is all of that doesn’t matter. At all. People want to know that you can help them; you can solve their problem and get them out of some kind of pain. They will pay you money even if you don’t have a certification, a specialty or some kind of fancy title. If you have been where they’ve been, share your story and set yourself apart from all of the others out there doing what you want to do- you can thrive. It’s more important to be clear on how you can help them and articulate that than it is to have some letters after your name. People just don’t care about that. With that being said, no- I don’t have a board certification and I haven’t done extra training or course work in any of these nurse coach programs. In fact, I no longer call myself a coach as I don’t identify with that role. But if you’d like more information about nurse coaching programs here are a few resources: American Holistic Nurse Association program endorsements; Bark Coaching Institute; The BirchTree Center; and The National Nurses Health Institute.

Q: I’ve been following your work for several years now and I wonder if you have any suggestions as to which would be better: a certification in holistic nursing or a master’s degree in nursing or both?

A: Wow, thank you for following my work. I truly appreciate it. And since you’ve been following my work I’m sure you won’t be too surprised by my answer. I can’t tell you which is better or worse. You’ve got to do what’s best for you. And as I said in my response above, your potential clients won’t even care what degree you have or which letters you have after your name. Ask yourself some questions. Which program will I enjoy more? What do I have the finances for? How much time and energy do I want to spend? What is it I really want to do with my life? After you listen to the answers from within you will know what’s best for you. And hey, just because you get one degree now doesn’t mean some years down the road, when your widely successful and just want more training to increase your knowledge and keep yourself stimulated, you can’t go back and get more education. If you’re still not sure, but want some ideas of how people have put the various degrees they have to work- you might want to check out my book, ‘Learning Through Experience: An Inspirational Resource Booklet of Expert Interviews’. In this book I’ve interviewed over three dozen nurses from all roles and ranks of nursing. Some are now coaches and others entrepreneurs. You will see what education they went through and how their degrees, certifications and trainings have served them. Enjoy!

Q: I’m not sure I’m happy with nursing anymore. Can you help someone like me, questioning my career path as a nurse?

A: First off, thank you for your courage and honesty. Accepting how you feel and being able to share it clearly and succinctly has you ahead of the game. Most people will hide from their feelings and deny any fear. So pat yourself on the back for being brave and stepping into your feelings. And now- of course I can help you! My work is dedicated to helping nurses reconnect with the nurse within. I am able to help you awaken the passion and joy that once called you to nursing in the first place. And I help nurses get much more clear on what it is they enjoy, what they want to do and where they can best use their gifts and talents. For more information on my work and to stay in touch, I encourage you to get on my weekly newsletter list. I invite you to sign up here.

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