Meet Health Coach Lorie Gardner: Health Coaches Key to Patient-Centered Care and Preventive Medicine

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

This month’s inside look at a health coach, the choices she made on the road to success, and the challenges ahead.

Excerpted from the March 2012 Health Coach Huddle.

Lorie Gardner, RN, BSN, CEO/Founder HealthLink Advocates, Inc.

HIN: What was your first job out of college and how did you get into health coaching?

Lorie Gardner: My first job out of college was at NYU Medical Center in Manhattan in 1978. It was an incredible acute care, inner city setting where I learned a tremendous amount in a very short time. During my experience there I realized very quickly that there was more to health and healing than “conventional” medicine. I witnessed at that time the power and strength of the mind in the healing success of patients, and that was the beginning of my interest in health coaching.

Have you received any health coaching certifications? If so, please list these certifications.

I recently completed the 14-week Wellness Inventory certification program.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road?

After staying home to raise my family, I was offered a consultant job as a clinical study manager at a large orthopaedic company managing clinical studies. I had experience in this field prior to staying home to raise my children. As I continued my work at this company it became clear that I needed to be working more directly with people and assisting them with their healthcare. I did not feel my gifts and talents were being fully used in that company and felt a calling back to the nursing field in some capacity.

In brief, describe your organization.

After a year-long credentialing course by Healthcare Liaison, I started my business as a healthcare advocate in March of 2010. My firm, HealthLink Advocates, Inc. is dedicated to achieving quality healthcare for clients through care coordination, education and research and health coaching. We recently affiliated with FEMTIQUE Associates Inc., a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization that provides professional health coaching to women and their families.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that you follow in health coaching?

    Providing my clients with a safe space to optimize coaching and communication.
    Ensuring that my clients know that the coaching relationship is a partnership to provide facilitation of their direction and motivation.
    To be an excellent listener and ask masterful questions that facilitate increased awareness in my clients.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?

Providing information to the community that the services of a health/wellness coach and a healthcare advocate are available for those that choose to optimize their healthcare and wellness.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2012?

The new healthcare reform is clearly directed towards both patient-centered care and preventive medicine. I believe that healthcare advocates and health coaching will be a key component in achieving these goals for patients as well as the healthcare system.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a health coach?

Clearly, for me, the most satisfying aspect of health coaching is the sense of accomplishment when a client experiences a renewed sense of well being and excitement for life. In addition, to know that I was able to facilitate a client’s awareness to make a sustainable lifestyle change is extraordinary.

Where did you grow up?

Huntington, N.Y.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?

I attended Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The moment I started my clinical experience in the hospital I knew I was in the right profession, a profession that I had chosen when I was 5 years old.

Are you married? Do you have children?

I am married 26 years and have 3 children, ages 25, 20 and 15 years.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?

My favorite hobbies are reading, exercising and gardening. I have always been active and involved with sports. My love of reading was enhanced after taking philosophy courses in college. I was intrigued with philosophy and metaphysics.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?

I loved the new movie Iron Lady with Meryl Streep about Margaret Thatcher’s life. Her courage and commitment to service and her country were remarkable. I love Wayne Dyer’s books, especially Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling, and Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.

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