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As holistic practices grow in popularity, more and more nurses are jumping on board by integrating holistic principles into their healthcare routines. Holistic nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” (American Holistic Nurses’ Association, 1998, Description of Holistic Nursing).
When I read this definition, I automatically think of the word ‘nurse.’ Isn’t every nurse’s goal to practice for the promotion of healing? Once you build a rapport with your patient, you start discuss the methods this patient has tried, is using, or has thought of as potentially helpful.
You’re invited to a special Nurses Week event dedicated to bringing back the art of nursing—that healing presence and patient-focused practice that Florence Nightingale first envisioned.
I am going to ask a "dumb" question, but here it is anyway: is there a specific specialty for "holistic' nursing?
There are now two certifications available: Holistic Nursing and Advanced Holistic Nursing. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) groups complementary and alternative Medical (CAM) practices into four domains, recognizing there can be some overlap.
Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. If you want to become a Holistic Nurse you first must obtain either an Associate of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Master of Science in Nursing.  Many schools offer these programs from community colleges to universities.
There is a “higher” certification available, which is optional and requires a Master of Science in Nursing degree.  This is the Advanced Holistic Nurse Board Certification.
A large majority of nurses find themselves working at hospitals, clinics, school campuses and rest homes. Students pursuing this route can expect to quickly become familiar with taking online classes. Tech savvy individuals and those that are naturally comfortable working online will enjoy taking online courses because of the ability to utilize the latest, up-to-date features when it comes to distance learning. Holistic nursing focuses on the whole health of the patient, as opposed to treating the symptoms of a present illness or condition. In addition to following traditional medical practices, holistic nurses may also incorporate complimentary and alternative medicine.
Today, holistic nursing carries on the work of Nightingale and countless others by providing their services and expertise to countless patients around the world. Those who are interested in becoming holistic nurses often start by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Holistic medicine complements traditional medical practices by combining treatment of both the body and mind. 50 Books Every Nurse Should Read10 Collectible Barbie Dolls Inspired by NursingWhy Is Psychology Important for Nursing? But holistic nursing goes much deeper than complementary nursing modalities such as aromatherapy, therapeutic touch or guided imagery. The holistic nursing process is no different than the traditional nursing process (assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, evaluation), but it has the potential to offer a wide range of support to patients and families through a long list of complementary modalities backed by evidence-based practices and nursing research.
Holistic nursing strengthens my practice of nursing because it supports my own sense of self-care. Since self-reflection is an encouraged practice in holistic nursing, I can better address any feelings of burnout and take action to lessen stressors in my life.

As a nurse who embraces the concept of holistic nursing, I ultimately hope for patients to be as active in his or her own healthcare as possible. Registered nurses still constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.5 million jobs and growing — and 2010 promises to create even more opportunities. Most registered nurses choose to follow a career path focused on a specific nursing specialty that fits their personality and intellectual interests. Holistic nursing allows nurses to bond with their patients on a deeper level, and give a patients a more personal experience. The AHNA goes on to say that it is “a specialty practice that draws on nursing knowledge, theories, expertise and intuition to guide nurses in becoming therapeutic partners with people in their care.
As you’re taking a patient’s history and listening to their story, you automatically are coming up with further questions. While you value and practice conventional medicine, never interfering with the plan, a conversation with the patient begins on modalities that may help enhance the treatment received. While the provider may want to treat and cure the patient, you understand that healing happens in a variety of ways. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States.
Some techniques that were considered CAM in the past have become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy). Regardless of the degree or certificate program, there are numerous advantages to completing college courses on the Internet compared to the traditional classroom setting. While forums and chat rooms have been around for quite some time, each year online schools develop and produce more advanced ways to connect students, their peers and instructors in a virtual setting. Nurses may take the patient’s environment and mental health into consideration when they are treating a person for any reason.
In 2006, the American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized holistic nursing as a speciality area of practice, which meant that the field could be clearly defined and regulated.
By looking at the larger picture, holistic nurses can provide a better experience to their patients and provide them with an opportunity to purse lasting health and wellness. It was a taboo subject among my coworkers, not to be taken seriously by conventional healthcare. In fact, it may just be the thing to stave off burnout and improve the care I give in my nursing practice. It encompasses the entire nurse-patient-family relationship because it takes into account the journey through illness for everyone involved, while using the holistic nursing process.
I may take a few moments to breathe and center myself prior to speaking to a patient or family member.
Listening to music or watching comedic YouTube clips are also beneficial during work breaks. I see myself as a guide for the patient through the journey of health and illness while recognizing that each person’s journey may be completely different. Some specialties involve being certified by a professional board or association which will often increase a nurse’s wages and long-term promotion potential. You’re potentially knowledgeable about breath, power of thought, sound healing and aromatherapy.
Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine.

Other mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation, prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance. The holistic nursing outlook believes that the patient cannot be treated as the sum total of their symptoms, but as a person in need of overall healing. Holistic nurses may also provide supplementation with natural herbs and remedies where they do not interfere with the patient’s current medications. This speciality area draws the bulk of its inspiration from Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who pioneered modern nursing as it is known today. Several mainstream schools and colleges are beginning to incorporate aspects of holistic medicine into their programs, so many potential holistic nurses can stay within one school for the duration of their training. Breathing techniques diminish stress and allow me to focus and be present for the patient or family.
And maybe the outcome isn’t to continue life, as you understand there is healing in the death process as well. Examples of systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
If your idea of self-care is another latte, and you’d like to trade in your high-stress work life for a soothing nurturing atmosphere, then consider holistic nursing, a specialty now for 4,000 nurses. What the holistic nurse offers to the patient will vary across practices, but the focus on complete and overall wellness is always the same. Her work during the Crimean War helped advance the field of public health and contributed to medical knowledge during an era where fatal infections and unsanitary hospital conditions were common. Sometimes I do yoga as a source of renewal between my nursing shifts or write in a journal to help clarify my experiences as a nurse. You can feel the presence of a greater power in this world and trust in the knowing that we are all connected; we are all OK.
Making the patient comfortable and enhancing the quality of their lives are important goals for you. Holistic nurses provide both conventional and complementary medicine, often training in alternative, high-touch modalities in addition to their traditional nursing skills. She later went on to establish the first secular nursing school in the world in 1860 at St.
Board certification in holistic nursing and medicine is also offered by the American Holistic Nurse Certification Corporation (AHNCC). You know that a physical symptom is actually an end result of something that goes potentially much deeper than what can be seen with the naked eye. Nightingale also believed that healing the whole patient was the key to successful treatment. Her vision of holistic medicine inspired a whole generation of nurses and continues to do so today.
The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) was established in 1980 as a way of advocating for this speciality nursing practice that draws so much inspiration from the work and legacy of Florence Nightingale herself.

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