When FMCA graduate Honey Bronson began the program, she looked forward to immersing herself in nutrition research. She’d always had an interest in nutrition and was considering returning to school for an advanced degree in that field. But what the veteran nurse really fell in love with during her FMCA year was entirely different.
“I was ready to get into the nitty-gritty of phytonutrients and different supplements,” says Bronson, “but I found that what I loved the most was the coaching.” Bronson, who has been a nurse for over 30 years and currently works as a clinical research oncology nurse in Highland Park, Illinois, says the coaching strategies and coach-client relationship taught by FMCA was completely different from the nurse-patient relationship. “I’m just so excited about it,” says Bronson. In the nurse-patient relationship, she explains, “you’re the expert, they’re the patient and we tell them the information versus the collaborative relationship in coaching.
For me, creating the collaborative relationship with clients during the practicum was really different and really fun.” Bronson spends her days managing the care of cancer patients involved in clinical trials, research exploring everything from new drugs that haven’t yet been approved by the FDA to new uses for current drugs. The only thing that’s constant is the fact that all of her patients have some form of cancer. “They’re all in different stages of the disease and of coping with the disease,” she says. Delving into the Functional Medicine approach to healthcare, with its focus on prevention, was like dancing on the flipside of her day job. Bronson loved it. Thinking about prevention, compared to thinking about how to manage care after a deadly disease is diagnosed, was refreshing.
The curriculum surrounding food as medicine really inspired Bronson as well. She first met FMCA founder Sandra Scheinbaum at one of her presentations about nutrition and well-being and later attended a lecture Scheinbaum sponsored featuring Mark Hyman, MD. Reading his book, “The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!” was one of the reasons she had begun to consider returning to school to learn more about nutrition.
Bronson is able to integrate some of the skills she learned at FMCA at her current job, but admits the hectic pace there and her dedicated and demanding role as a research nurse don’t provide a perfect opportunity. She encourages potential students with nursing backgrounds to “absolutely consider FMCA,” she says. “They need to go into it with an open mind, as it’s very different from nursing education and practice, but it makes for an absolutely fantastic combination.”
Bronson will launch her own small private coaching practice after the first of the year while continuing to work part-time in oncology. “I have had so many people tell me that they would love a health coach and have encouraged me to open a practice, that I
decided to go for it,” she says. “I truly believe it is the future of healthcare and one sure way to get people to make the diet and lifestyle changes needed to reverse the upward trends of diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses.”