Health Coaching at Story Medical Clinic
During 2011, Story Medical Clinic became the first health care
provider in Story County to offer the services of a
specially-trained health coach to
patients dealing with chronic conditions.
Patients of our clinic are referred to the health
coach for a variety of reasons and have access to the service free of
charge. Meagan Ausborn-Henderson, R.N., provides insight, support,
motivation and a listening ear to Story Medical Clinic patients.
If you are interested in learning more about
Story Medical Clinic's innovative health coaching services, talk with your
Story Medical primary care provider
about being referred to the service. You can also
email Meagan or call her at 515-382-7104.
"Being a health coach
allows me to help health care move from reactive to proactive."
- Meagan Ausborn-Henderson, R.N.
Q&A with Story Medical Clinic's Health Coach
Can you explain what a health coach is?
I am a registered nurse with special training and
certification in helping patients to set goals and take the steps necessary
to manage their condition and any life factors impacting that condition.
Being a health coach requires you be a great listener who is not afraid to
advocate for patients. I am certified through the
Iowa Board of Nursing as a
Physician Office Health Coach, and my training enables me to focus on
improving quality of life for each of my patients.
More about health
What types of patients do you work with?
Many of the patients I work with have diabetes or
are in need of weight-loss support. In order to effectively manage their
conditions, patients need to master many skills, including monitoring,
adhering to medications and treatments, evaluating and managing symptoms,
and coping with the emotional aspects of having a chronic condition. Many of
these patients need some support in managing their conditions and that is
where I come in.
Do you need to build trust with a patient for
coaching to be successful?
Yes. Building a rapport with each patient is
essential. Coaching facilitates behavior change through a structured and
supportive partnership between the patient and me. That enables a spark to
motivate the patient to look inward and recognize that they do have the
resources and an innate ability to make lasting lifestyle changes.
Does your coaching go "by the book"?
Because so much of what I do is dependent upon
the patient, there is no "by the book" when it comes to coaching. Every
person's story is inherently unique, and the patient deserves to be coached
that way. That being said, the training that I have received allows me to
use evidence-based techniques to help engage patients and walk them through
the process of change. I would imagine that there are certain
characteristics unique to me, which get passed on to each of my patients
How often do you meet with patients and what
does it cost?
I follow up with the majority of my patients on a
weekly basis either in person, by phone, or, in some instances, by email.
The Health Coaching service is provided at no charge to patients of Story
Medical Clinic who are referred to the service by one of our providers.
Why is goal-setting so important?
Part of my job is to help my patients become
experts in the management of their conditions. We can achieve this by
facilitating short-term goal-setting done completely by the patient. Goals
are based on their individual aims, preferences, values and needs. I gently
guide my patients to focus on behaviors instead of outcomes because
behaviors represent the steps that lead to a desired outcome. Goal-setting
also provides a sense of empowerment for our patients and family members. By
setting a goal, they have a clear roadmap on what needs to be done to
facilitate a healthier lifestyle. Once that goal is set, they can lean on me
to explore with them how they can best make a change in their health
What is your favorite part of being the Story
Medical Clinic Health Coach?
I became a nurse because I genuinely care for the
patients I serve. The best part of being an R.N./Health Coach is the fact
that I have the time and the resources to sit down and spend the time with
patients that they so desperately deserve. As the old cliche goes, "If you
do what you love you will never work a day in your life." I am so lucky to
have found my calling.
How does it feel to be a leader in Story
in providing these innovative services?
It is a credit to the leadership at Story
Medical. I feel completely blessed to work for an organization dedicated to
providing the highest quality of care to all the patients they serve. With
Mercy Clinic in Des Moines as a model of success, we have been
able to implement a program that will likely become a norm in the future.
The biggest payoff for us right now is being part of the solution. Being a
health coach allows me to help health care move from reactive to proactive.