Specialty Nurse: Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach

Specialty Nurse: Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach


The Gypsy Nurse could not be successful without the support and contributions of it’s readers. Today’s Specialty Spotlight is from reader and Specialty Nurse Candice M. Hubbard, BSN, RN, AFAA who works as a Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach.

Name: Candice M. Hubbard, BSN, RN, AFAA
Job Title: Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach
List your education/certifications:
AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, AFAA Primary Group Exercise Certification Specialist, CEO/Creative Director of The CapoKinesis Method, First-Aid, CPR-AED, and Zumba Fitness Licensed and Certified
Where do you work:
I work in various settings. Essentially, my role as a Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach allows me to work independently as a group fitness instructor with the ability to apply my nursing knowledge and the nursing process to how I train clients in the various group fitness settings I work in part-time.

I also work on a per client bases from home and in collaboration with their primary health care provider, seeing clients on a mobile bases to consult with them individually about their health and wellness goals and formulating a plan to help them achieve those goals that are medically appropriate for their current fitness and nutrition level. The meetings usually take place at a fitness center I currently teach at or can take place at the clients home.

How long have you worked this Specialty?
Proficient 2-5 Years

How/Why did you get involved? Was there someone/something that inspired you to choose this specialty?
Fitness has always been a big part of my life. As an overweight pre-teen, I knew first-hand the devastation caused not only physically, but mentally and spiritually in regards to being an overweight person and I sought to do something about it.

As time went on, and I lost the weight throughout my teenage, college, and career years, I developed a serious passion for fitness and wellness, and developed a belief that the only way to feel holistically stable, was to be well in mind, body, and spirit and fitness plays a huge role in that.

After becoming a Registered Nurse in 2005, I continued my healthy living lifestyle and in 2009, decided to get over my shyness and became a certified fitness instructor, only later to also become a freelance contributing writer with Demand Media Studios and Suite 101 in 2010 and 2011, with published articles on cardiovascular health, renal disease, diabetes prevention and management, as well as preventative medicine and nursing for Livestrong.com.

As a Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach, I believe true wellness begins from the inside out.

What do you do in a typical day?
Being in a self-employment specialty area has its ups and downs, as I am still in the process of building clientele, physician referral networks, etc. And work my Wellness Practice on a very part-time bases.

Most of the clients I meet come from my fitness instruction work setting. However, I still also work in the typical nursing settings, and at current work for a Hospice Center in Home Care. Very often, I even find myself consulting fellow nurses about their wellness needs and concerns, from weight and stress management, to nutrition and weight loss.

What frustrates you about your job?
Helping people to understand the benefits of disease prevention and health promotion. Most want the help, but aren’t ready to receive the help, or make lifestyle changes, but only want to complain to someone about what is not right with their health or weight.

What about your job makes you proud to be a nurse? Is there a specific situation that stands out to you as a gratifying moment?
As a Holistic Wellness Nurse Coach, I am not your average fitness instructor, that’s bouncing up and down at the front of the room putting on a show, and quick to hide when something goes wrong. I bring nursing knowledge and critical thinking into the group fitness setting, that most certified instructors do not.

I’ve taught an indoor cycle-circuit class to a group of ladies, two of which are chronic migraine sufferers. One young lady developed a pretty severe bout of nausea, vomiting, and anxiety toward the last 20 minutes class. Immediately, after she requested to be excused to the restroom at the initial onset of her symptoms, which she pinned off to me as ‘oh I’m just a little nauseous, I’ll be right back’ and didn’t return for over 5 minutes, I stopped the workout with the rest of the group only to find her hovered over the sink in the bathroom vomiting and then stooping to the floor,just barely escaping a concussion from hitting her head on the sink, yet still telling me ‘I’m ok, this happens sometimes’ the fact that she gets severe anxiety when she has a migraine episode and even proceeded to apologize for her condition.

Instantly I was in full (Rescue Ninja) nurse mode by that time, staying with my client sitting on the floor in the fitness center restroom, asking her how much water has she consumed that day, what foods she had eaten, and various other assessment questions, finding out that she didn’t eat a very healthy breakfast or lunch that day, and she had forgotten to bring water to class.

As a previous camp nurse on a short-term mission trip over the past two years, scenes like this were not uncommon nor anxiety producing for me being outside the confines and ‘safety’ of a medical facility assessing and providing nursing care. Luckily, I remembered that I had an extra unopened bottle water that I had brought to drink after class, and immediately gave it to the client instructing her to drink it. Her friend that had invited her to class joined us in the restroom, and we sat their on the floor with her until she was stable enough to walk on her own two feet out of that bathroom.

Her physiologic symptoms had resolved, thus alleviating her psychological symptom of anxiety and she was able to function as normal again. Still apologizing for getting sick in class and that she takes her medicine, and once again in my nurse hat, demonstrated that holistic approach of reassurance and that there was no need for her to apologize.

Needless to say, I left the gym that day feeling as if I truly made a difference.

Do you feel you receive adequate support for your responsibilities?
I think so. As a full-time hospice home care nurse and part-time fitness instructor in the community of my home town, I feel that the experience and services I have to offer are well received thus far as I have only been back in the area a little over a month after having not lived here since my pre-teen years.

What (if anything) do you get called about on your off-hours?
I’m not really in the position to get any odd after hours calls. Most of my consultation calls and appointments take place before or after normal business hours, before my 8 am work day or after 4:30 pm when I am at one of the fitness facilities meeting with clients and teaching classes. However of course, any contact after 8pm warrants an email only that I can address the next morning before leaving for work.

What is something a nurse who does not work in your particular field might find surprising about your job?Flexibility. Independence. Living out your passion for health and fitness.

Does your position involve teamwork, or is it more of an individual job?
Collaboratively, I work with community healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians in gaining client referrals as well as current fitness clients in classes to gain referrals. Outside of that I am pretty much an independent entity. A Mobile Wellness Center so to speak.

Did you position require any extra training besides on-the-job training that you were required to complete?
Yes, aside from being a licensed registered nurse, I have certification in group exercise from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and currently in pursuit of board certification with the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA).

Other recommended certifications and training for someone interested in this specialty include, an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) personal trainer certification, ACE (American Council on Exercise) health coach certification or A Wellcoaches program certification.

Basically to become a Holistic Wellness RN Coach, one must have training as an RN, particularly at the Bachelor’s level, plus a certification in fitness, that’s at the most basic entry level of specialization. It is always recommended with any nursing specialty to continue your education beyond baseline.

One of the biggest complaints given by hospital unit-based nurses is that they rarely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. Do you find that to be the case with your job as well?
Not at all. Because a lot of what I do is on a per client, appointment, consultation bases, I set my own working hours. Outside of my full-time nursing job at a hospice center, I am pretty much my own boss. I am new to my current area, even though its my home town, so I work my business very part-time as I get to know people.

What is your definition of “poop hitting the fan?”
Not sure. I guess, if a client doesn’t meet their desired goals for one reason or another while under my care, or a scheduling conflict.

Are there travel opportunities in your specialty?
Yes, but not in the general sense of travel nursing. But as I mentioned before, since I don’t work out of an office location, I am essentially a ‘mobile wellness center’. I meet clients where they are.

So local travel is definitely an option for someone in this specialty. Outside of that, as you grow in recognition as a health and wellness specialist you can also find many opportunities to conduct seminars and presentations throughout the country, so instead of the general 13 week travel contracts, it would be weekend getaways to conduct presentations at seminars, conferences, or conventions.

For example, outside of my nursing, fitness instruction, and wellness coaching, I am also a certification specialist for the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America, so I have assignments where I go out of town to present certification workshops for health and fitness professionals seeking training and certification in teaching group exercise programs.

Is there any specific advice you would give a nurse pursuing your specialty?
Educate yourself , become your own client, if your not living what your preaching, your doing your clients a disservice. Have a passion for health and fitness. You have to be passionate about it in order to adequately teach it. Don’t do it to strike a gold mine, do it because you live it and you love it!

TheGypsyNurse is always interested in learning about new Specialties. If you work a Specialty that hasn’t been covered, please contribute by filling out the submission form HERE.

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