Student Health Center wellness coaching aims to help students learn how to be healthy 

FILE- The Student Health Center’s Nurse Coach Wellness Visit will cater more to the needs of individuals. (Jason Jiang/ The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Student Health Center’s new Nurse Coach Wellness Visits help cater to the needs of individual students, Student Health’s nurse practitioner and outreach director Kelley LaFleur said.

The Nurse Coach Wellness Visit is a 30-minute appointment guided by a nurse who examines factors, such as sleep and diet, that influence the patient’s health and well-being, identifies healthy habits and develops ways to sustain healthy behaviors, LaFleur said in an email.

“At the initial session, the student [gets] answers [to] questions related to their general health, including questions about exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress. Answers to these questions can help to prioritize and focus health goals the student is interested in working on,” LaFleur said. “Or a student may know exactly what they want to work on [but] they just need help getting there.”

The Nurse Coach then helps the student set health goals based on their answers, she said. The personalized plan helps the student learn what they have to do and can lay the foundation for better health.

The program piloted last spring when the visits were part of annual physicals, but, as of this fall, the 30-minute visits are independent, LaFleur said. The program is run by Nurse Coach Laurie Savino, RN.

The program, a subset of the Know-U-Well Program, is still developing in order to reach its peak potential. It is led by Student Health Services Director of Nursing Tina McCarthy, LaFleur said.

The desire for the visits came from expanding the ideas of the Healthy Husky 101 UNIV 1820 course, LaFleur said. The class focuses on examining personal health status, identifying key areas for improvement and setting personalized health goals.

“We have brought all the components of this class into a one-on-one personalized health visit delivered by the Nurse Coach,” LaFleur said. “We want more students than can be accommodated in the class, to have access to a visit where the student determines the priorities and goals for their health and well-being and where the Nurse Coach is there to guide them in their journey to life-long health.”

Student Health Services offers the Nurse Coach Wellness Visits at no additional change to UConn students who have paid the Storrs Student Health Services fee, LaFleur said.

“We want students to not just think of us when they are ill or injured, but to seek us out when they are well to take advantage of preventive care opportunities such as our free flu shots,” LaFleur said. “We believe our students deserve to have programs like the Nurse Coach Wellness Visit available to them, and we are excited to provide this new service.”

Seventh-semester sociology major Janelle Swaby said that she thinks the Coach Wellness visits are a good idea for students.

“The last time I went to Student Health was last year. I believe that this plan to improve my health goals was not put into the works yet,” Swaby said. “This idea does seem quite interesting because sometimes I leave Student Health thinking what should be my main priority, so I don't risk being sick again.”

A nurse wellness coaching visit can be made by calling Student Health Services scheduling at (860) 486-4700.


Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.philipson@uconn.edu.