What Is Holistic Nursing?
Traditionally, nurses look at a patient in terms of their outward symptoms. When we consider a patient from the point of view of holistic nursing, we are essentially considering the entire being of the patient. Often complementary medical treatments are recommended to patients in order to address their problem in its entirety and not simply from one aspect. What this essentially means is that the patient’s emotional and spiritual well being is considered in addition to their physical health. The holistic nurse and her patient are seen as partners, working together to achieve better health for the patient. Holistic nursing is usually practiced in long-term care facilities as well as in many hospices across the country. The core concept of holistic nursing is this:
- Each patient is an individual whose personal needs are of the utmost importance.
- This form of health care is not an alternative to modern medicine, but rather an addition to modern medicine, through which care can be improved.
Nature Of The Work/Duties
Holistic nursing involves combining all of the ‘traditional’ nursing methods taught at traditional schools with holistic methods. These methods and modes of treatment could include the following:
- Shiatsu massage
- Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
- Energy healing
The actual treatments used are based on the initial assessment performed by the holistic nurse. In addition to the above, there is also a strong focus on the food and fluids that a patient takes in. nutrition and body cleansing are a central focus, so a holistic nurse will often spend some time assessing a patient’s diet.
One of the main roles of holistic nurses is to provide patients with human caring and a respect for their personal dignity that is sometimes lacking elsewhere in the healthcare industry.
Because of the nature of the discipline, nurses who practice from a holistic viewpoint can work n a variety of different settings, including the following:
- Medical Professions: because holistic nursing involves caring for patients at a physical level as much as at a spiritual or emotional level, holistic nurses can often work in the same medical settings as other nurses.
- Working at Health Spas: health spas frequently operate from a holistic point of view, making it an ideal setting for nurses form this orientation to work in.
- Lifestyle Coaches: these coaches aim to restore balance to the entire individual, an extremely suitable role for a holistic nurse.
- Physical Therapy: physical therapy is incomplete unless the emotional recovery of the patient is addressed in addition to his or her physical recovery.
Holistic Nursing Requirements
There are three main requirements that you will need to meet if you plan to become a holistic nurse:
- Firstly, you must hold a diploma, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in nursing
- In addition to that, you need to complete at least 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing
- You must also have a minimum of one year of full-time active practice as a holistic nurse
This is, therefore, a nursing specialty that you can pursue as an LPN or as an RN, and the additional training to become a holistic nurse is not as intensive as the training you would be required to complete for a number of other fields.
To be a holistic nurse you will need to have an open mind and be accepting. This is because holistic nursing is an attitude, not just a job. The idea that you need to accept most of all in order to be a holistic nurse is that treating the mind, body, and spirit as a whole will heal single ailments.
A holistic nurse also needs to be in touch with her own body’s needs in order to serve her patients at an effective level of care. This means that you need to, essentially, ‘practice what you preach’, and engage in the same relaxation techniques that you spend your time teaching your patients.
Basic nursing traits, such as empathy, good communication skills, and attention to detail, are also necessary in holistic nursing.
If you choose to complete your nursing training through a holistic nursing school rather than a more traditional option, you will cover coursework on the following topics:
- Health policy
- Nursing practice
- Theory and practice of holistic medicine
- Theory and practice of professional standards
- Specific healing modalities such as energy work
- Massage therapy
- Healing or therapeutic touch (bodywork)
Although you will definitely need to complete the basic courses that are included in all undergraduate nursing programs, additional courses, such as massage therapy and bodywork, will depend on the particular school through which you choose to earn your holistic nursing qualification.
To be a holistic nurse you can hold either an LPN license or an RN license. In both cases the process begins by researching the schools in your area that offer either an LPN or RN qualification. Once you have completed the necessary course and met all of the course requirements, you will be eligible to apply to your State Board of Nursing for Licensure. Once the Board has confirmed that you are eligible, you will have to take an exam:
- The NCLEX-PN is for candidates who would like to be licensed practical nurses (LPNs)
- The NCLEX-RN is for candidates who would like to be registered nurses (RNs)
The exams are administered by Pearson VUE. Confirmation from your Board allows you to set an exam date with this examining body and passing the exam means that you are licensed. Depending on the rules in your particular state, your license will need renewal at set intervals.
How To Become A Holistic Nurse
Training, Advancement And Other Qualifications
Training for holistic nursing can occur in two ways:
- You could complete a nursing program from scratch at a holistic school, or
- You could complete a degree program at a non-holistic school and then complete a 48 hour training program in order to become certified as a holistic nurse and augment your knowledge
The short programs will cost anything between $2000 and $3000 to complete, while longer degree programs will vary in price depending on the specific school that you choose to enroll in.
Source An Accredited Education Program
It is extremely important that the program through which you qualify as an LPN or an RN is accredited. If it is not accredited you will be wasting your time and your money on that particular program. Your State Board of Nursing is an excellent resource to turn to if you would either like to:
- Receive a list of the accredited schools in your state that you can choose form among, or
- Ask about a specific school
Although schools are required to provide you with their accreditation status, it is always better to check their claims.
In order to become a holistic nurse you must consider only those programs that are approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association. If the program is not approved you will most likely be unable to become certified as a holistic nurse.
Earn Your Associate’s Degree
Although you can become a holistic nurse with either an LPN or an RN qualification, one of the more popular degrees you could earn is an associate’s degree. This degree will allow you to practice from a holistic nursing viewpoint as an RN. The following steps are involved in earning your associate’s degree:
- Firstly you need to look into what schools in your area offer an associate’s degree in nursing
- Then you should create a list of requirements that your ideal school should meet
- Select at least three different schools from the list that you have in front of you, and apply to them all, remembering to keep the individual application procedures for each school in mind
- When the schools get back to, select the best option from among those that accept you
- The associate’s degree program will, typically, consist of both theory and clinical training – by meeting all of the course requirements for your particular program, you will graduate
- Graduating from an associate’s degree program automatically earns you an associate’s degree in nursing
Obtain Your Licensure
In order to be a nurse you must hold either an LPN or RN license. Although additional certification is not required in order to be a holistic nurse, it is strongly recommended that you pursue certification in this discipline if you plan to practice from a holistic point of view. There are three levels of holistic nurse certification that you can earn:
- Holistic Nurse – Board Certified (HN-BC)
- Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse – Board Certified (HNB-BC)
- Advanced Holistic Nurse – Board Certified (AHN-BC)
Each is approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association and proves your expertise at each level.
Online/Distance Education Programs
Holistic nursing is a nursing qualification that can easily be completed online. An online program has a number of advantages, not least of which is the fact that you will not be required to give up your current job in order to study. In addition, these programs are often substantially cheaper than ‘traditional’ options, and you will be able to work at your own pace and not be tied down by a classroom schedule. Provided that the program is approved, you can complete your additional holistic nursing training entirely online. It is also interesting to note that many of the continuing education options that are available from a holistic nursing perspective can also be done through distance education or through an online school.
Holistic Nursing Job Outlook
Because holistic nursing is an extremely broad concept there are in actual fact a number of job opportunities available for nurses who have pursued additional education in this discipline. As a holistic nurse you can:
- Practice in hospitals
- Practice in universities
- Practice in medical offices
- Practice in alternative health centers
- Become a wellness coach
- Specialize in healing modalities (e.g. bodywork)
In addition, because you are required to be either an LPN or an RN before you can engage in additional training that will allow you to enter the field of holistic nursing, you will also have the opportunity to work in settings where a specialization in nursing is not, in fact, required. Nursing as a career in general is expected to increase between now and the year 2020 by a substantial amount, meaning that future job security for all nurses is good.
Holistic Nursing Earnings
The basic salary trends for this line of work are as follows:
- A Registered Nurse (RN) with holistic nursing training can earn about $23.50 an hour
- A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with holistic nursing training can earn about $15.28 an hour
- A Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) with holistic nursing training can earn about $36.00 an hour
- A Mental Health Counselor with holistic nursing training can earn about $43.50 an hour
Just by having a bachelor’s degree in nursing you become eligible to earn $16.00 – $32.50 an hour as a holistic nurse. The more advanced your level of practice, the more you are eligible to earn in this sector of nursing.
Holistic nursing is an up and coming discipline that is slowly but surely gaining acceptance but that has yet to develop firm roots in the medical community. However, there are indications that this perspective has a number of advantages in expediting patient recovery when used in conjunction with traditional medical techniques. Certification in holistic nursing can also serve to increase your salary options slightly, but the main advantage is your increased ability to care for your patient in a comprehensive way, accounting for each and every aspect of their health and their well being.