Holistic Nurse

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) defines holistic nursing as “all nursing that has healing the whole person as its goal”.

What this means is that holistic nursing is about more than just treating injuries or illness. It concerns itself with connecting with patients on a deeper psychological and spiritual level too.

Florence Nightingale, the most famous nurse in the world, spoke of human beings as a “reflection of the Divine with physical, metaphysical and intellectual attributes”. Holistic nursing recognizes the infinite, sacred and spiritual energy fields of people and treats them accordingly.

Holistic Nursing Profoundly Respects Every Aspect Of Patient Care

This  all-encompassing belief makes a huge difference to way the holistic nurses view and treat patients. They way they speak to patients, listen to their concerns and relate and interact with them on a day-to-day basis are all as equally important in holistic health care.

The aim of a holistic nurse is to connect with their patients physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and psychologically to provide a deeper and more meaningful level of health care. In holistic nursing this is referred to as becoming heart-centered.

Holistic Nursing Focuses On Caring And Healing

A primary focus of holistic nursing is to be more focused on both “caring” and “healing” back in health care. This can sometimes be overlooked because of the way nurses are trained simply to provide medical treatment, change dressings, and monitor the patient’s vital signs.

This is enormously important of course so that the patient can heal and recover from treatment or an illness. But holistic nursing takes this health care to a different level by focusing on how the nurse’s own emotional and physical well-being can have a profound effect on a patient’s health too.

For example, when a nurse goes into a patient’s room exhausted, angry or upset about something they often do not realize that this is creating an unhealthy environment for the patient.

So holistic care places a lot of emphasis on the nurse taking good care of her or himself too. By learning to listen deeply to their own heart and beliefs, holistic nurses connect more deeply with their patients as loving and caring are essential to the healing process.

Therefore holistic nurses strive to be healthy and happy in every aspect of their own lives too – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually as this reflects on the way they interact with patients and the type of health care they can provide.

It is very common for those who believe in the healing powers of holistic health care to be interested in meditation, creating time for reflection and introspection, dream states and keeping detailed journals of both their holistic working practices and their own life.

Holistic nursing is simply not one part of your nursing career, it is an essential part of your own life. By becoming so centered – as opposed to self-centered and self-serving – holistic nurses create the optimal environment for caring and healing.

They consciously incorporate centering techniques into their daily interaction with patients. Many holistic nurses will pause for a few seconds before entering a patient’s room, close their eyes, breathe deeply and repeat to themselves that “I am here for the greater good of this patient – I give my full attention to the here and now.”

They then direct their awareness to the area around their heart and bringing to mind something that evokes love and compassion so that they remain present to the moment and can provide the optimum care possible to their patient in that particular time and place.

Many holistic nurses have their own private practices in which they incorporate their holistic beliefs into their patient care in a number of different ways.

This can include subtle energy healing such as healing touch, therapeutic touch, and Reiki, reflexology, guided imagery, biofeedback, aromatherapy, massage, nutritional counseling, cognitive therapy, lifestyle counseling, breathing and relaxation techniques, music and sound therapy and acupressure.

The AHNA endorses a number of holistic nursing practice educational programs. While the American Holistic Nurse Certification Corporation (AHNCC) currently has 13 undergraduate holistic programs in the United States.

To be eligible for holistic nursing certification (HN-BC) by the AHNCC, you must be a working registered nurse (RN) with a baccalaureate or higher degree or at least one year of full-time practice or 2,000 hours of part-time practice as a holistic nurse within the last five years.

Alternatively you can become a certified holistic nurse after graduating from an AHNCC-endorsed university and obtaining a minimum of 48 contact hours of additional holistic training within the last 2 years.

At the moment, around 40% of holistic nursing is practiced in hospitals, 23% in private practice, 15% in research and education, 11% in hospice and long-term care facilities, while 9% of holistic nurses are students. Once you are certified, holistic nursing can be practiced in any setting.