When individuals think of healthcare, their minds often picture a process of symptom management to address a patient’s disease or ailment. However, holistic nursing emphasizes the importance of the mind, body, spirit, and emotions for overall well-being.
Holistic health is a discipline that acknowledges the entirety of human existence, integrating natural healing methods into clinical practice to cater to people’s psychological, physiological, and spiritual requirements. This holistic approach complements traditional methods, ensuring a well-rounded treatment strategy.
As a holistic nurse, you’ll break away from the typical medical model and adopt a more inclusive approach to nursing. You’ll be educated on utilizing lifestyle medicine to deliver more well-rounded health solutions. Knowledge about incorporating exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, sleep, and the science of human change will be a part of your training, allowing you to focus on your patient’s health and guide them towards complete wellness.
Understanding Holistic Nursing
Holistic nursing revolves around the principle of treating the patient as an entity rather than just addressing the symptoms of their existing condition. A holistic nurse, sometimes referred to as a complementary health nurse, is a board-certified RN who adopts a mind-body-spirit approach to traditional nursing.
Typically, holistic nurses combine various alternative medicine forms with conventional Western medicine. This combination may include therapeutic massage, dietary counseling, meditation therapy, and breathing exercises. Comprehensive care nursing encourages patients to adopt self-care, self-responsibility, reflection, and spirituality into their lifestyle to maintain a healthy balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Comprehensive care nursing focuses on the broader spectrum of stressors, patterns, and habits that might affect a person’s health. It involves evaluating a patient’s mental health, physiology, social environment, and spiritual beliefs for more effective patient care.
The Role of a Holistic Nurse
Although comprehensive care nursing involves the same fundamental roles and responsibilities as a regular RN, their treatment approach differs. For instance, while a regular RN diagnoses and prescribes medication for patients, a holistic nurse delves deeper. They address the health issues, explore the patient’s overall well-being concerning the issue, and understand who they are as an individual.
This holistic approach could mean identifying the lifestyle elements that may be causing or exacerbating the issue. Prescribing medication if necessary, recommending stress relief exercises, dietary changes, and more could be a part of the treatment, aiding in healing and preventing potential recurrence.
Common therapies and techniques in comprehensive care nursing include:
- Stress management techniques
- Dietary coaching
- Breathing exercises
- Wellness Coaching
- Therapeutic massage
- Hypnotherapy and balneotherapy
- Cranio-sacral therapy
- Network spinal analysis
- Aromatherapy and herbal therapy
- Exercise programs
Where Do Holistic Nurses Practice?
Holistic nurses primarily work in clinics, hospitals, patient homes, and primary care facilities. They may also be employed by government agencies, educational institutions, and social service organizations. They also practice in hospice care facilities, using holistic medicine to treat patients nearing the end of their lives.
Steps to Become a Holistic Nurse
Similar to other registered nurses, there are several steps to becoming a certified holistic nurse. Completing a degree or diploma program for a BSN or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically required. If you’re already an RN, you can obtain your BSN through a registered school offering online degree programs. Upon acquiring your ADN or BSN, you’ll need to pass your state’s NCLEX-RN exam and become a registered nurse before practicing.
Once you have obtained your RN license, you can apply for certification from the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (AHNCC). The prerequisites for certification include:
- Holding an unrestricted U.S. RN license
- Having completed at least 48 hours of continuing nursing education, including Research, Theory, Practice, and other related topics.
- Working as a holistic nurse for at least 2,000 hours or for a year.
You may need to pass a qualitative and quantitative evaluation to become certified, with a requirement to renew your certificate every five years.
Other comprehensive care nursing certification programs to consider include:
- The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) – an organization aimed at supporting practicing holistic nurses and supporting different initiatives associated with holistic nursing.
- Integrative Healing Arts Program (IHAP) – a retreat for holistic nurses focussed on honing the abilities of the nurses and exposing them to new treatment approaches.
- The Canadian Holistic Nurses Association (CHNA) – a group for Canadian holistic nurses.
Begin Your Holistic Nursing Journey
Transcend the traditional approach of mere symptom management and venture into a rewarding role of integrative care. At the Nurse Coach Collective, we offer superior continuing education for nurses to help you earn your Comprehensive Care Nursing Certification.
With our assistance, you can soon qualify to practice as a proficient certified holistic nurse. Apply today!