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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013, Article ID 238620, 7 pages
Review Article

Complexity and Health Coaching: Synergies in Nursing

1School of Nursing, York-UHN Nursing Academy, York University, HNE 349, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3
2University Health Network, York-UHN Nursing Academy, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
3Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, ON, Canada
4University Health Network, Black Creek Community Health Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
5University Health Network, Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy, Toronto, ON, Canada M4G 3E8

Received 11 July 2013; Revised 24 July 2013; Accepted 7 August 2013

Academic Editor: John Daly

Copyright © 2013 Gail J. Mitchell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Health care professionals are increasingly aware that persons are complex and live in relation with other complex human communities and broader systems. Complex beings and systems are living and evolving in nonlinear ways through a process of mutual influence. Traditional standardized approaches in chronic disease management do not address these non-linear linkages and the meaning and changes that impact day-to-day life and caring for self and family. The RN health coach role described in this paper addresses the complexities and ambiguities for persons living with chronic illness in order to provide person-centered care and support that are unique and responsive to the context of persons’ lives. Informed by complexity thinking and relational inquiry, the RN health coach is an emergent innovation of creative action with community and groups that support persons as they shape their health and patterns of living.