Health and Wellness Coach

Rice Haunstrup, RN meets with a client.

Work/life balance is growing increasingly elusive in a healthcare industry plagued by staff shortages and multiplying patient visits. At Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, where quality patient care and employee satisfaction go hand in hand, Rice Haunstrup, RN provides health and wellness coaching to employees.

You’ve probably heard of a life coach; the concept of a health and wellness coach is similar, but the focus is on health instead of career or relationships.

“I’m not a therapist or a nutritionist or a physical trainer,” said Haunstrup, a clinical nurse in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “I’m a coach who can help you with any health behavior you want to change. We work together to narrow down a goal, figure out the steps to take to reach your goal, and guide you along your journey.”

Haunstrup, who already had an associate’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s in sociology, graduated from the Duke Health & Well-Being Program in May 2022 and started seeing APD employees in December. She initially meets with folks for an hour, and the topics range from fitness and physical activity, nutrition, quitting tobacco or vaping, sleep health, and stress management.

“I might start by asking why this goal is important,” Haunstrup said. “I’ll ask about previous changes — what worked, what didn’t work. We’ll talk about what it might look like if you don’t make these changes a year from now and what it might look like if you do.”

Haunstrup works with her APD clients to set small goals, then follows up with them to see their progress.

“Rice is always positive, and I appreciate her practical approach, working wellness into an already-full life/work schedule and within my limited resources,” said Megan Rae, contract and project specialist at APD. “We set goals together and she is encouraging when I have success and helps find solutions when I am not.”