What is Holistic Nursing?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), also known as holistic medicine, is a type of healthcare that’s rapidly gaining popularity.

As nurses, we know it can sometimes be easy to believe that the general population isn’t interested in holistic care, but the facts show us otherwise.

Let’s take a look:

In 2004, the CDC reported that 36% of American adults used some form of holistic treatment to manage and maintain their health. And that number continues to rise. In fact, the holistic medicine industry is expected to bring in about $404.66 billion globally by 2028.

What does this tremendous industry growth tell us? It says patients are getting tired of the current healthcare model. They want healthcare that does more than treating their symptoms. They want something that will improve their health physically, mentally, and emotionally.   

As nurses, we’re responsible for giving our patients the treatment and guidance they need to be healthy. If the traditional methods aren’t working well enough, and patients are looking for something better on their own, shouldn’t we step in to help our patients achieve total health and wellness?

We should, and we can. That’s what holistic nursing is all about. 

What is Holistic Nursing?

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) describes holistic nursing as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal.” We holistic nurses are interested in much more than just your ailments and issues. Instead, we strive to help our patients achieve total wellness, rather than just applying a band-aid or suggesting another prescription. 

To better understand the philosophies behind holistic nursing, you have to look to the mother of the field: Florence Nightingale. She taught her nurses to focus on “holism” when treating their patients, asking them to consider each person’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental state to provide a tailored treatment experience. 

Nightingale believed that hospitals were only an “intermediary stage of civilization.” In other words, we aren’t meant to spend our lives in a doctor’s office. She believed health and wellness were all about the way we live, from our diets to our daily hygiene habits. As holistic nurses, we get to carry her message forward, integrating lifestyle medicine with traditional care to give our patients the best of both worlds.

Benefits of Becoming a Holistic Coach

At first, the idea of becoming a holistic coach or holistic nurse might seem daunting. After all, we nurses have a lot on our plates (yet another side effect of our broken healthcare system). Our work is often exhausting, draining, and time-consuming. Why should you bother getting yet another certification? 

The answer is simple: Becoming a holistic coach is your ticket to a better, more fulfilling career. 

Make a Real Impact

Like us, you likely became a nurse because you believed in the value of healthcare. You understand that life is better when you’re healthy and strong, and you want to help others live their happiest and healthiest lives. 

Of course, you’ve probably realized that today’s medical system doesn’t focus on long-term happiness or health. It’s about reactivity, about treating a symptom instead of preventing an illness, and about prescribing medication (even if there are plenty of more natural approaches available). 

What does this system lead to? A population where over 60% of adults have a chronic disease. 

As a holistic nurse, you can use your advanced medical knowledge and holistic alternative medicine to help your patients prevent illness and achieve greater health for good. Use mindfulness and music therapy to help manage anxiety. Use reflexology, yoga, or massage to heal physical ailments. Nutritional and lifestyle counseling can help patients unlearn bad habits. Coaching, to help your clients set the right goals and break through self-limiting beliefs. 

And when all is said and done, your patients won’t have a mere “band-aid” on their health — they’ll have sustainable, lasting wellness. 

No More Burnout

Holistic nursing isn’t just about talking the talk. It’s also about walking the walk, by taking time to care for your own needs as well as your patients’. The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) states that self-care is one of Holistic Nursing’s five core values because “holistic nursing believes nurses must practice self-care to be better able to serve others.”

For overworked nurses like us, that sentence is like a breath of fresh air. As you train to become a holistic nurse, you not only learn the tools and skills to support your patients’ wellbeing – but also to improve your own health. You learn how to create the freedom to take care of yourself so that you can have f the wellness you deserve. In fact, it’s kind of your job to be putting this stuff into action in your own life, because if you don’t practice holistic wellness, you won’t be able to guide your patients effectively.

How to Become a Holistic Nurse

Alternative nursing approaches like nurse coaching or holistic nursing are the way of the future. This is the kind of care that our patients are looking for, and they are the practices that will help our country become healthier. 

So, how do you become a holistic nurse?

Lucky for you, you’ve likely already done the first step on this journey by becoming a Registered Nurse. Now, all you have to do is earn a certification from the AHNCC. This credentialing body currently offers the holistic nursing certifications at four different levels, depending on your highest degree:

  • HN-BC® (Holistic Nurse Board Certified)
  • HNB-BC® (Holistic Nurse Baccalaureate Board Certified)
  • AHN-BC® (Advanced Holistic Nurse Board Certified)
  • APHN-BC® (Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse Board Certified)

For each of these certifications, you will need at least 2,000 hours of holistic nursing practice (plus 500 hours of advanced practice for the Advanced certifications) and 48 contact hours. 

And guess what? The Nurse Coach Collective is here to help you on your journey. 

Our Transformative Nurse Coach Certificate Program is the best course to help you prepare for your holistic nurse certification exam. Our program teaches you how to heal patients holistically and integrate lifestyle medicine into your treatment programs, all while awarding you 120 CNE contact hours you can use to meet your certification requirements. We’ll even set you up with a Nurse Coach of your own so you can experience holistic care in action.

Check out our free training today to learn more about holistic nursing and the incredible impact it can have on your life and the lives of your patients.

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