A holistic approach to health care rests on the belief that treatment of medical conditions must address not only the physical symptoms of a patient but also the psychological, emotional, spiritual and social factors that affect the patient’s health. A Holistic Nurse Practitioner approaches the practice of traditional nursing and patient care with this holistic view. The American Holistic Nurses’ Association (AHNA) says the purpose of holistic breastfeeding is to heal the whole person.
In 2006, the American Nurses Association (ANA) defined Holistic Nurse Practitioner as a distinct nursing specialty. Then, in 2007, NAHO and ANA jointly published the scope of holistic nursing and standards of practice. More recently, NAHO and ANA have worked together to develop the scope of holistic nursing and standards of practice 2nd Edition, published in 2013. This publication aims to:
- Defining holistic nursing, including its scope.
- Explain the practice parameters.
- Define education for practice.
- Show the evolution of holistic nursing.
- Explain the focus, philosophy and concern of holistic nursing.
- Explore current issues and trends.
- Define the standards and competencies of holistic nursing practice at the basic and advanced levels.
- Discuss the core values of holistic nursing
Holistic nurses are educated by conventional and complementary healing practices and can be a bridge between the two. Some holistic nurses integrate specific alternative healing modalities or complementary in their practices. Some of the modalities that nurses might choose to practice include:
- Body and body practices such as massage, acupressure, acupuncture and motion therapy
- Mental medicine, such as art therapy, hypnotherapy and meditation
- Practices based on biology, such as herbal therapy and nutritional counseling
- Energy medicine, such as healing, prayer or reiki
Some holistic nurses maintain separate licenses or certifications to practice a modality in which they choose to specialize.
Holistic nurses work with all populations and in all areas of health, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, ambulatory surgery clinics and private practices. An area where holistic nurses are increasingly engaged is wellness coaching, according to the 2011 issue of Beginnings, an AHNA publication. Wellness coaching integrates physical fitness, nutrition and the number of holistic interventions used to manage weight, stress, health risks and life problems.
Becoming a Holistic Nurse
Holistic Nurse Practitioner occupy the spectrum of entry-level NRs for advanced practice nurse practitioners (NPs). Although baccalaureate degrees specifically in holistic nursing are scarce, many nursing programs promote a holistic view. Generally, a nurse with an undergraduate nursing degree who wants to work in integrated nursing continues to complete on-the-job training in the field.
Nurses wishing to become holistic NHSs have the opportunity to pursue master’s or post-master programs specific to holistic nursing practice. Programs typically cover traditional traditional nursing skills, such as advanced pathophysiology, health assessment and pharmacology, as well as complementary healing modalities. However, all of these courses are taught as part of the holistic philosophy of nursing. In addition to providing knowledge on complementary healing modalities, the concepts essential to holistic nursing care such as self-care, presence, intention / intent, mind-body-mind perspective, holistic health And curative, holistic ethics, as well as other essential elements are included in the program of these programs.
Some schools offer programs that combine a holistic specialty with a population-based population. For example, nursing programs specialized in nursing are not uncommon. Other schools offer a holistic nurse practitioner program or an advanced holistic nursing program outside focus on the patient population. There are also post-master certificates in holistic nursing for clinical nursing specialists.
Holistic nursing certification
Four Holistic Nurse Certifications are available from the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC):
- The Holistic Nurse, accredited by the Board of Directors (HN-BC), is available to all RNs who have completed a nursing program at an accredited school that assigns at least an associate degree or diploma.
- The Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse, certified by the Board of Directors (HNB-BC), is available to RNs who have completed a Bachelor of Nursing degree from a school accredited by the Association of Schools and Colleges.
- An advanced holistic nurse, certified by the Board (AHN-BC), is available to registered nurses from an accredited school and an existing APRN license.
- The Advanced Practice Nurse, certified by the Board of Directors (APHN-BC), is available for RNs with a graduate degree from an accredited school as well as an existing APRN license.
The following conditions apply to the four certifications:
- Nurses must have a current and unlimited RN license in the United States
- Nurses must have at least one year of full-time experience as a holistic nurse or have at least 2,000 hours of part-time experience in the five years prior to attendance
- Nurses must have completed at least 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing in the two years prior to the examination session
- The AHNCC Application Agreement accepts the terms of AHNCC
The AHNCC also offers two certification options for those interested in nurse coaching:
- Nurse Coach, Board Certified (NC-BC)
- Health and Wellness Nurse Coach, certified by the Board of Directors (HWNC-BC) (available only to Dutch nurses certified by the Board of Directors)
The following requirements apply to both certifications for LPNs:
- Nurses must have a current and unlimited RN license
- Nurses must have a minimum bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing school
- Nurses must have two years of full-time experience or 4,000 hours of part-time experience in the five years prior to the start of the examination
- Nurses must have completed at least 60 hours of continuing education in the three years prior to the examination (at least 10 hours of personal coaching experience is recommended)
- Sixty hours of experience under the mentorship of a registered nurse supervisor (a letter from the supervising nurse validating this experience is required)
- Self-Reflective Evaluation of Nurse Coaches
- The AHNCC Application Agreement accepts the terms of AHNCC
The Professional Testing Corporation administers the exams from March to October for two weeks at over 700 sites nationwide. The certification is valid for five years. Recertification requires continuous practice as a holistic nurse and meets the requirements of continuing education.
Holistic Nursing Association
The Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) supports holistic curative education and its philosophy, concepts, practice and research for nurses, other health professionals and the public. AHNA publishes the Journal of Holistic Nursing and maintains a list of current nursing education programs that teach content in harmony with the organization’s mission, vision and purpose.
Some states have holistic nursing associations, such as the Oregon Holistic Nurses Association and the Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association.