Anyone done NIWH Whole Health Educator program?

Specialties Holistic


Has anyone completed (or know anything about) the National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) Whole Health Educator for Nurses program? If so, have you become a Certified Holistic Nurse? What's the verdict? I'm trying to learn if it would be helpful to my career. I believe the education itself will be very valuable for the knowledge itself, and to help patients, but I'm asking more in terms of credentials, job obtainment and career advancement. The course is not free, so I'm thinking of payback in terms of the practical, realistic stuff.

Also, I'm trying to learn about coaching options independent from a hospital setting. Is it possible to teach classes or do one on one counseling with this certification. What would be the legalities, and how does it work with an RN scope of practice? Does anybody have any experience with this?

Thanks for any input!

Specializes in Nutritional Therapy, Functional Health.

WholeHealthBSN- Could you talk more about your coaching business? Do you have a particular niche that you market your services for?

Also, I would love to hear how you are billing insurance using your NPI number. What is the reimbursement like? Do you need to bill under a physician?

Thank you!

Hello PaleoNurse,

Thank you for your interest in our patient health education program. I hope my response is helpful in clarifying your questions.

The National Institute of Whole Health is an almost 40 year old, post professional medical continuing education, research and development program which offers peer-reviewed courses and programs in patient health education and disease prevention.

While our curriculums do include health behavioral change skills and training (which is now called health coaching), our primary focus is on disease prevention, evidence-based patient health education and patient advocacy. We are not a coaching program and our certification is in Whole Health Education.

Applicants, in order to be offered enrollment in the program, must have their professional credentials independently verified. Only licensed, credentials professionals qualify as this is a post-professional additional scope of practice that has professional liability and a secondary NPI number, for coding and billing, available to our qualified graduates.

The coding and billing is done by the certified graduate, but physicians and other primary providers can also bill for the graduate's services. NIWH provides a coding and billing manual to its graduates for this purpose. There are many advantages to secondary billing (which includes Flex-Spending and other pre-tax dollars for health care spending) that include not having the cost of a billing service, not having to accept discounted reimbursement and having direct payment at the time of service.

This is not a nursing specialty alone (although the vast majority of our learners are nurses). Rather this is a specialty for those with a scope of practice that includes patient health education.

This training expands a nurses scope of practice either outside or inside her/his practice of nursing within a medical setting. Many nurses are practicing outside of a medical environment and in many states this can put their license in jeopardy, and can become a problem if they do not have a liability coverage to cover the services they are offering.

We recommend to all nurses that they check with their state licensing board regarding their scope of practice in their state and often nurses do not know they cannot offer particular services. For instance, Aromatherapy or Reiki practitioners may have, in a specific state, to have specific training or certification to provide that service and cannot reply on their nurse training to do so. This is important regarding the legal and ethical aspects of any service being offered.

I hope this information is helpful and if you would like more detailed information we would be happy to send you an e-mail with Quick Links to various pages, samples of courses, our research, accreditation, etc.

All the best -

Hello PaleoNurse,

Apologies, I forgot to identify that health coaching is not allowable for health insurance billing or reimbursement. While health coaching skills are an excellent tool to have in any practice, health coaching is not regulated in terms of prerequisites, length of training, the quality of the training or of the instructors, nor is there any national oversight or regulation.

While there are attempts being made to regulate health coaching, it is believed the gasps among the many national coaching programs will make regulation very challenging. In addition, health coaching skills are now being co-opted into nursing and medical school trainings and many in the profession see health coaching as soon being integrated with and referred as Lifestyle Medicine, which is the domain of physicians and licensed medical professionals.

Health Coaching is currently more of a skills training than a profession or career. At this time. any individual, can call themselves a health coach, and services offered under health coaching are not eligible for reimbursement. If a professional bills for their health care services, but they are actually providing health coaching instead, this is a red flag auditing issue and can have serious consequences.

Currently, all services must be documented with patient medical records and treatment/office visit notes. With the Pay4Performance mandates, many practices require the patient sign for the services they have received for each visit.

There is a free video on our website all about Health Care Reform Mandates and the services insurance companies cover, some under the title of "health coaches" but those health coaches are all providing disease prevention and patient education services and are duly credentialed and licensed.

I hope this information is helpful,


from Program Services,

National Institute of Whole Health

Specializes in Nutritional Therapy, Functional Health.

Thank you for that detailed reply, Conorm88! Very useful information!

Any thoughts in comparison between the NIWH program and the Integrative Nurse Coaching certificate program (also endorsed by AHNA)?

Hello jjsc0204,

Thanks for your question.

The AHNCC Board Certified Nurse Coach exam provides a coaching certificate. If you are looking for a good coaching program there are several out there recommended by the American Holistic Nurses Association.

Because we do provide whole health coaching skills in our 400 hour curriculum, NIWH is approved by both AHNA and AHNCC for our courses to be applied to both the Holistic Nurse Exam and the Board Certified Nurse Coach test. With the Nurse Coach you also need to have mentored hours with an AHNCC certified Nurse Coach. We have an RN, PhD mentor we refer our grads to and she provides a significant discount to NIWH learners.

So, to more clearly answer your question the AHNCC Nurse Coach program is focused on providing nurses with coaching certification. We provide a disease prevention, patient health education and patient advocacy training, which we call our 3-in-1 program. It provides certificates in both Patient Health Advocacy and Whole Health Coaching Skills and a certification (this requires case studies and a Final Paper project) in Whole Health Education (patient education).

Hope this is helpful for you,


Thank you for the information, Conor. Very helpful!

You may find this Press Release very interesting regarding a new approach for addressing chronic disease diagnosis and treatment - and an application of the Whole Health training:

Whole Health Pioneer Announces Partnership with, Innovators of Crowdsourced Medical Diagnosis


NIWH Whole Health Education for Nurses will change the way you think about your own health and the way you deliver health care. As a behavioral health clinician, educator and graduate of NIWH, I can't even imagine teaching patients and students about health without considering the whole person. NIWH provided me with a science-based, integrated curriculum that helped me take my work to the next level. NIWH has been around for almost 40 years, all the information presented in the 26 basic courses is info strongly supported by science, and for me it was by far the best program out there. They include health educator training plus coaching skills, patient advocate cert, test-out for CCP cert, and I can bill for health education with my own NPI number – they gave me a billing and coding manual when I graduated. There are A LOT of personal and professional benefits that go along with this totally unique education. Conor in Program Services is very helpful, my academic adviser was supportive, and the Director, Dr. Donadio is very involved and available to address student questions and concerns. I highly recommend NIWH if you're looking to add more meaning to your career in health – for more info they outline all the benefits on the website: Whole Health Training and Education - Accredited | Holistic Health Programs.

Hi All,

I am a RN just finishing the courses through the National Institute of Whole Health. My experience was exceptional from start to finish. Not only did I find the program thorough but I found myself learning about the body in ways that nursing school just didn't cover. As far at the nutrition course I feel it strongly presented the research backing a whole food, plant based diet as well as discussing the implications relevant to todays food crisis. Since the program was not intended nor advertised as a solely nutrition based program in my opinion it covered the topic of nutrition quite adequately while saving room for the other 4 aspects of Whole Health. Hope this helps anyone looking into becoming a Whole Health Educator! This program is really such a value for all the the information presented.

When I entered the NIWH Whole Health Educator program it was to advance my offerings in my private practice. Not only did this program fill my "tool box" for clients with a wealth of evidenced based information, but it forced me to explore areas of my own life that I could improve. I highly recommend NIWH Whole Health Educator program, especially for those medical professionals that are looking for a fresh new approach to motivate their patients to make necessary lifestyle changes to improve their health. The NIWH staff respond quickly questions, are extremely supportive and knowledgeable. It was a terrific "eye" opening experience for this medical professional!

Hello All,

There has been a question floating around in the Holistic Nurse threads asking about "What jobs are available for Integrative Nurses?"

In an attempt to provide specific, helpful information for those looking for positions I am cutting and pasting a comment in case you don't find that particular thread. Hope it is helpful:

What is important to know if you are looking for employment in the "holistic" nursing field is that today you won't find a listing under "Holistic Nurse Wanted". "Holistic" is how all nurses are trained - to look at the whole person - just like Florence Nightingale did. What happened since her day is that specialization has taken over nursing just like it has with the physician's role.

Today, being a Whole Health trained nurse or Integrated Health or Whole Person Health Nurse or a nurse educator trained with health coaching skills is what you will most likely find being asked for. The healthcare mandates have put a huge focus on disease prevention and patient health education, as well as patient advocacy. Many of our nurses are finding that being trained as a patient health educator and advocate, with coaching skills, is what the jobs are looking for. The insurance companies call patient health educators "health coaches" but they are looking for the nurse to be able to educate and facilitate the patients self-care from both a clinical as well as behavioral skill set.

If you want to find a job in what is called "holistic health" field do consider having patient health education, coaching skills along with patient advocacy training. If you go to or and ask for "nurse coach" "patient educator" "nurse educator" "wellness educator nurse" "wellness nurse" "nurse advocate" or any combination thereof you will see where the jobs are in this field.

Nurses are the #1 preferred educators, advocates and coaches so the good news is you're at least half way there!

Hope this helps ~

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