Health coaching provided by registered nurses described: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

Jennieffer Barr, Lily Pei-San Tsai

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    Aims: The aim of this systematic review and narrative synthesis was to identify how and why health coaching is delivered by Registered Nurses. 

    Design: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. 

    Data sources: Articles were identified through a search of CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, and PsychINFO databases. Articles published in English between 2010 and 2021 were included. 

    Review Methods: Quality appraisal of relevant literature was independently undertaken by two authors to assess for risk of bias. The Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) was used to appraise quality of potential papers. 

    Results: A main purpose of coaching by Registered Nurses is to optimise patient self-care. How coaching was conducted varied across studies, with the most common coaching approaches via telephone or online. Majority of studies highlight some effectiveness of coaching by nurses; however, some results were inconclusive. Health coaching generally reduced mental distress. Other benefits reported by patients included reduced pain and fatigue. Outcomes for changing lifestyle behaviours were mixed. However, for health coaching to be efficient greater evidence is needed to determine length of time to use coaching, number of habits to focus on to produce change, and to determine best training for coaches. 

    Conclusions: Registered Nurses are most suitable for implementing health coaching for self-care, including preventing and managing chronic illness and recovering from situations like post-surgical needs. Nurses already promote health, and therefore, are skilled in educating people in self-care. Coaching is an additional strategy for motivating, targeting and assessing progress of self-care. Extending the scope of nursing practice to routinely coach in self-care would be ideal.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number74
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalBMC Nursing
    Issue number74
    Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


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