Growing Role for RNs as Health Coaches

  1. Talk about follow-up healthcare

    Employers and insurance firms are providing 'health coaches' to help workers manage and prevent illnesses.

    About every two weeks, Joel Tucker, 46, gets a call from a fairly new acquaintance, Debbie, who politely asks about his health and offers some suggestions for how Tucker can better manage his diabetes.

    Rather than be annoyed by the intrusion, Tucker says he's delighted with the phone calls. "It's like talking to my sister," he says.

    Debbie is actually a registered nurse, one among dozens under contract to Tucker's employer, UPS. The nurses look through claims data to find employees who have, or are at risk for, chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and cancer. They then contact the workers to offer medical assistance — advice-laden brochures, tips for remembering to take medication, or help finding a doctor or a clinical trial for a specific condition.

    Some Americans might be reluctant to hand over private information to someone who works for their employer or to let their insurer know they may not be controlling their health problems. But not Tucker, nor his colleague Rita Sexton, who speaks to Faye, another nurse who coaches UPS employees, once a month about her diabetes.

    Having Faye "is like having a personal trainer," the Chicago woman says. "For example, Faye reminds me to check in with the eye doctor and the foot doctor." And, because Sexton has given her written consent, test results are sent to the nurse, who then explains the blood work and recently congratulated Sexton on lower cholesterol levels.

    "It's nice to have a lot more information and time spent with you than just your doctor's regular appointment," Sexton says.

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    Last edit by brian on Nov 21, '06
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  3. by   Katnip
    I have one of those. I got one when I was diagnosed with diabetes. It's pretty nice. They help keep track of things I'm supposed to be doing like getting my flu shots and stuff, and making sure the insurance pays for the dilating eye exam, which they don't normally do.

    And they said I should apply to work there, lol. I just might.
  4. by   JentheRN05
    How can I get a job like this? That would be excellent. Everything I love doing as a nurse (except hands on care) and getting paid for it. Lead me to it!!!
  5. by   VicChic
    I'll say!
    Yeah, fill me in too, please! I'd definitely be interested to know more.
  6. by   everydaynurse
    I would love to have this type of job. I have studied Reiki, therapeutic touch and healing touch. I have hepled people learn meditation and done guided imagery with people. My husband and I are trying to get bills all paid off so I could start my own consuting firm for companies here in my avaerage size town. Maybe that is the way to go. So me too!!!!!