How to Become a Health Coach as a Nurse

How to become a health coach as a nurse

How to become a health coach as a nurse

The Demand is High: How to Become a Health Coach

Today’s healthcare climate- what a mess! There are many challenges that cost both the medical system and its consumers not only money, but their lives. Nurses -who are in the perfect position to help- start to think about how to become a health coach.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are the most common and costly. Here’s just a few of the stats, found on the CDC website:

  • As of 2012, about half of all adults in the United States had one or more chronic health diseases
  • One in four adults has two or more chronic health issues
  • Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2014 were due to chronic conditions
  • Eighty-six percent of the nation’s health care spending are for people with chronic and mental health conditions

I could go on and on, but I think that you get the picture. In fact, nurses live and breathe these chronic diseases on a daily basis as they care for the sickest of patients shift after shift.

The demand for coaches is high which leads many nurses to ask: “How do I become a health coach?”

The Frustrations of Nursing

Being a nurse and working in tertiary care can be a terribly frustrating experience.

As a nurse, it is nearly impossible to go a day without caring for at least one overweight patient or working with one person who has at least one chronic disease.   

And what happens in the typical patient care setting?

We are bombarded with a heavy patient load. We rush from one patient to the next, performing our assessments, passing medications, and charting on our efforts. And then- at the end of the day- we leave work feeling as though we could have done more.

The thought that people are literally dying, and that most of it could be prevented with a few simply lifestyle changes makes our hearts break as nurses.

Enter a Solution: Nurse Health Coaches

Enough gloom and doom for one post. I personally do not like to dwell on the negative.

In fact, I merely present it to you in order to point out that nurse coaches are needed! And many more of them are necessary- and fast- if we want to shift where the health of our population is headed.

Health coaches can be one of the missing pieces to this puzzle.

Nurse health coaches can help with lifestyle behavior changes. And while this sounds simple- I have come to learn that what’s simple is not always easy.

We’re talking about changing behaviors that have become ingrained habits- often for the greater part of a lifetime. Adults often struggle with change due to the fear of the unknown. It can be easier and quite tempting to backslide into unhealthy behaviors that have comforted a person for the majority of their life.

A Rewarding Way to Practice Nursing

So, I don’t know about you, but I certainly have heard from nurses across the country just how draining a nursing career can be in today’s age of healthcare.

Typically, a nurse works with a sick patient all day and then the patient gets sent back out to their real world setting, often only to bounce back to our care. Even if the nurse does encounter a future interaction with the very same patient he or she cared for in past shifts as a nurse- it isn’t always a “happy” story to see that patient again.

What if you could continue being a nurse, but add another layer to your nursing career that provides for greater job satisfaction? How would you feel if you could truly impact one patient at a time and actually see them all of the way through to an actual healthier outcome?

The solution is easy- add health coaching to the nursing skill set and empower yourself as a nurse!

Enter Donni Alvarenga: A Nurse Health Coach

I’d like to introduce you to one of the best health coaches I know, Donni Alvarenga. In fact, this isn’t the first time you have met Donni as she was a guest on episode 75 of the Your Next Shift podcast.

Donni is a a Nurse Practitioner who stared her professional career as an oncology nurse, working on a Gyn-Oncology unit. Rather than me telling you more about how to become a health coach, why not hear it from Donni herself?

I had the pleasure of chatting with Donni on how nurse coaches are in high demand and how this role can impact the health and wellness of our communities. Check out the video interview below:

Get Started as a Nurse Health Coach Today!

What’s awesome about Donni is her love of helping other people, specifically nurses. Donni not only coaches clients to a healthier lifestyle- she supports nurses by teaching them how to set up a health coaching practice.

If you’ve been thinking about the next shift in your nursing career- here’s your chance to make it happen! Take the first step and explore health coaching with Donni. Tell her I sent you and enjoy this next chapter in your nursing career.

p1050390About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week program, The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.



  1. Loved this! I am curious though who are the more reputable health coach certification programs. There are many and sifting through them can be overwhelming…

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