Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Lisa Bell Henson RN, BSN, MBA
Burned out and brokenhearted, Lisa Bell Henson, RN, BSN, MBA found a new calling as a certified holistic nurse coach
When Lisa Bell Henson was a little girl, she already knew how she wanted to spend the rest of her life: living healthy and aging well.
With a father who was an endocrinologist and a mother who was a geriatric nurse, Lisa spent a lot of time in nursing homes surrounded by frail, elderly residents. The conditions at that time were less-than-ideal, and many of the nursing home residents suffered from bed sores and loneliness. Lisa was mortified — and motivated.
“There was so much loneliness among the frail, elderly people in the nursing home. Right then and there, I became determined to never end up there,” says Lisa.
That motivation was the first step toward a lifestyle focused on wellness. After becoming a registered nurse, Lisa worked on an intensive care unit (ICU) for many years. She got married, had children, and lived her life according to Western medicine and Southern gender roles and expectations.
Lisa was programmed to believe it was her job to make everyone around her happy — all the time — even if that meant sacrificing her own happiness. She bent over backwards a few too many times, over and over again.
Then, she broke.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
With the help of her therapist, Lisa came to the realization that she couldn’t continue living as a co-dependent people pleaser. This lightbulb moment terrified her, but she was determined. Lisa walked away from toxic people and behaviors that did not serve her. She walked away from her stressful job as an ICU nurse. And she walked away from a lifestyle that put her own needs last.
With renewed clarity and strength, Lisa ushered in a new chapter of self-care where she could treat her own soul first. Rather than solely focusing on physical health and the way she looked, Lisa embraced wellness for her mind, body, and spirit.
“I relearned how to connect with myself,” says Lisa. “Prior to this, I couldn’t have told you if I was happy or sad because I was too focused on other people. But I got to reconnect with myself at the age of 50.”
After divorcing, Lisa found herself in a new, healthier relationship and she remarried. She also went back to school to learn about holistic nurse coaching, which she was drawn to after discovering it online. All the pieces were falling into place.
The Nurse She Was Meant to Be
Lisa always felt uneasy about the reactive way Western medicine approaches health and wellness. Rather than achieving full healing, Lisa always felt ICU patients were treated with symptom management, only to remain or get sick again. Something about it didn’t feel right to her.
But when she became a holistic nurse coach, it all clicked.
“I’d always been a holistic nurse coach deep down, I just didn’t know what to call it,” says Lisa. “Holistic nurse coaches are the future of health care because they help address the root cause of illness, reconnect people with their souls, and act as true advocates.”
According to Lisa, “nurse coaches see themselves as a therapeutic partner to their clients. They search for patterns and causes instead of merely addressing client symptoms. They view disease as a process, recognize the mind’s role in healing, and advocate for their client's wholeness.”
Holistic nurse coaches treat patients through a combination of:
- Stress-reduction techniques
Prioritizing the Whole Self
Today, Lisa takes care of her entire self through daily meditation, walking, Pilates, line dancing, nutrition, and connecting with God. She surrounds herself with positive people who lift her up and give her space for herself. And while Lisa can now prioritize her own needs for complete wellness, she never lost her desire to help others.
That’s one of the reasons she felt compelled to volunteer at a local senior center to teach line dancing. This way of giving back nourishes Lisa’s soul, and in a way, has helped her come full circle.
“It feels a little bit like walking into a nursing home [when I was a child], but it’s much more vibrant,” says Lisa. “Teaching these classes allows me to give back and advocate for older people.”
It’s been a long journey, but Lisa feels she’s finally reached a point where she’s in alignment with who she truly is. She found the ability to believe in and pursue her own goals and aspirations — because they’re just as important as everyone else’s.
Less than 10 years ago, Lisa was burned out, brokenhearted, and out of options. Today, she has found meaning in:
- Her career as a holistic nurse coach
- The support and encouragement from the people around her
- A greater connection with God
- Healthy, attainable expectations of herself
“I’ve created a life that I love with people who are on the same journey as me,” says Lisa. “And now it’s my heart’s cry to be able to help other people navigate their own obstacles better than I did.”
She’s living healthy and aging well, indeed.
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