Training to become a health coach isn’t usually the first step in our students’ healing journeys; it’s the next step on a long path toward prioritizing health and sharing it with others. You all come from such a range of backgrounds and experiences, and when, after many twists and turns (and perhaps a few different careers!) you finds yourself ready to become an FMCA student, we are honored to help you take your calling anywhere you can imagine.
Your personal health journey is your superpower! Your motivations, your interests, your career and training, your insights—these things form the unique story that makes you the coach you are. And there is room in this Functional Medicine family for all your experiences and all your stories.
Heather Williams, BSN, RN, CEN, FMCHC of our February 2017 Class was using her superpower to make an impact on others long before she found FMCA.
After graduating from college, she started working as an emergency room nurse, advice nurse, and medical device educator, doing the emotional and physical “heavy lifting” that makes nurses such heroes in our community.
More and more, she found herself drawn to preventative and proactive medicine and decided she needed to make a change; she was interested in the gut and wanted to get more experience doing preventative screenings, , so she was transferred to an Endoscopy unit.
From there, Heather was accepted into a Nurse Scholar Program, where she would go on to learn about and participate in research studies.
She was a natural learner, and her group’s project on nurses’ job satisfaction and stress was presented multiple times as a poster and podium presentation. The June 2018 Journal of Nursing Administration published an article about the study, (check it out here), and Heather was even able to present it herself at the International ANCC Magnet conference in 2015!
With these educational doors wide open to her, and all she had to do was follow her “gut.”
After a career of healing others in the conventional healthcare system, it was when Heather started facing her own health struggles that Functional Medicine first showed up on her radar. And for the first time, she felt let down by the system she had supported for years.
“There were lots of diagnostics, but little root-cause analysis to determine what was underneath all of the symptoms.” When she was prescribed a slew of medications to “fix” what was “wrong with her,” she made the decision that this was not her path. At about that same time, Heather crossed paths with a woman studying to become a naturopath, and from there she was introduced to holistic health practices and began to be “coached” back to health.
Through this process, she came to know the powerful experience of healing herself through the education, warmth, and guidance of a holistic healthcare professional. For Heather, a nurse who already helped others on a daily basis, this discovery felt like a whole new way of making an impact, and she felt compelled to share the love and pass it on. “I wasn’t sure how,” she reflects, “but FMCA was the answer!”
Heather was actually considering attending another coaching program when she discovered FMCA. She recalls creating a white board of pros and cons, reviewing her options carefully along with her husband.
“I knew I needed to do something outside of the constraints of the conventional medical model…FMCA was hands down my first choice.”
What really sold her on the program was FMCA’s approval as an ICHWC Transition Program—Heather knew she wanted to sit for national board certification, and her FMCA education meant staying on track with that process. Our holistic and inclusive curriculum was another motivator, and of course, “it included my favorite element, Functional Medicine!” She connected with FMCA co-founder Elyse Wagner on the phone, and after that conversation it was all but decided: Heather Williams would become an FMCA student.
Once in the program, Heather was pleasantly surprised by her ability to form meaningful relationships with other students—it’s a 100% online functional medicine training program, after all! The community and connection she felt were two of the biggest highlights from her FMCA experience.
The time spent practicing her hands-on coaching skills with other students—called Live Training Sessions—had the benefit of bringing her together with her fellow cohort members on a regular basis and providing a chance to both practice AND receive coaching. Heather even discovered that 2 of her fellow students lived within an hour of her home, and they continue to meet up in person when they can.
Now an FMCA graduate, Heather has no plans to slow down or stop learning.
Building on her background in nursing, her goal is to one day become a Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner. She hopes to follow her personal interests in women’s health and hormones, labs, and coaching practice models as she builds her own practice. And as for right now, “I plan to use what I’ve learned at FMCA as tools in my nursing practice, while also working as a coach. I am currently in the process of negotiating with a physician who would like to use a health coach in her practice!”
Heather knows that all of these interests and experiences help create her why—what sets her apart from other coaches and makes her the kind of coach her clients want to work with.
“Being a nurse with many years of experience, including a certification in emergency nursing, makes me unique and qualified to work with clients with more complex medical issues.” Heather is channeling her superpower to serve her ideal career, to collaborate with practitioners, and to help heal her clients. We couldn’t be prouder!
Learn more about Heather at her website, healthynursewellnesscoach.com.