Description of Registered Nurse's Knowledge and Practice of the Nurse Coach Role

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Dottie Needman


Researchers are testing new strategies for managing health related changes associated with aging, the menopausal transition, and chronic disease. Clinician’s have operationalized this idea through the development of a new professional role referred to as nurse coach, where specially trained nurses facilitate the health behavior change process. In this model, the nurse coach uses specific counseling and communication techniques to join with the client in a partnership driven by the client’s values and goals and assist them to make the health behavior changes they desire. Adopting this model shifts the center of attention from a traditional illness-focused paradigm to one that is client-centered. This allows the nurse to offer ‘custom fit’ structures and techniques to clients from a variety of backgrounds as they consider incorporating health behavior changes into their lives. This study took a beginning look at questions around the nurse coach role. The purpose of the study was to describe registered nurse’s knowledge of the elements that define the nurse coach role, determine if nurses apply the skills to their practice, and, if they are applying the skills to their practice, identify where they learned the skill. Forty-eight registered nurses answered a twenty-five question survey developed by the student researcher. Respondents were asked about their familiarity with individual terms and if they used specific skills in their nursing Practice. The study showed that while nurses have varying degrees of familiarity and understanding of the terms describing the nurse coach role, most nurse respondents believe that they incorporate nurse coach skills into their practice. Further research testing the competency of nurse coaches will improve appreciation of how to utilize this role in the most efficacious way possible.