As more people are searching for ways to be and stay healthy, there has been a growing interest in holistic nursing. This specialty practice draws on nursing knowledge, theories, expertise and intuition to guide nurses in becoming therapeutic partners with people in their care. To a holistic nurse, spirit and emotion are just as important to wellness as the mind and the body; and the philosophy of caring and interconnectedness is inseparable from knowledgeable nursing practice. All fields of nursing can have holistic care providers, whether it is pediatric nursing, oncology nursing or any other specialty. Holistic nursing care is based on principles of practice, rather than areas of nursing care.
Here’s a brief overview of some of the ways that nurses incorporate holistic care into their practice.
The practice of holistic nursing requires nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality and reflection in their lives. This may lead the nurse to greater awareness of the interconnectedness with self, others, nature and spirit. This awareness may further enhance the nurse’s understanding of all individuals and their relationships to the human and global community. Nurses who learn to care for the mind, body and spirit in themselves and others can help individuals access their greatest healing potential.
Standards of Practice
Like all aspects of healthcare, there are strict standards of practice holistic nurses must abide by. The biggest standard in holistic nursing is to recognize and incorporate the entire body of the patient in care. Holistic nurses address their patients’ emotional and spiritual needs, as well as their physical health. They believe that this approach enhances the healing process of conventional medical therapies, rather than adversely affecting it.
Types of Holistic Healing
Holistic nurses see the healing of the whole person as their goal, and they draw on a variety of complementary and alternative nursing modalities to broaden their scope of practice including biofeedback, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, humor, imagery, meditation, prayer and a healing presence. These treatments strengthen the mind-body-spirit connection and help nurses become instruments of healing. Some holistic nurses specialize in one or more modalities, such as energetic healing or bodywork, and maintain separate certifications to practice these modalities in their individual states. The American Holistic Nursing Association has adopted standards which outline the acceptable alternative care to enhance the healing of the whole person.
Nurses trained in these holistic practices and principles are ready to meet the growing demand for healthcare born of integration between East and West art and science. No matter where they work, holistic nurses create a healing interaction and environment. They are emerging as leaders in integrative healthcare roles as clinical practitioners, educators, wellness consultants and coordinators. If you’re looking to specialize in the nursing profession, and enjoy the type of healing that involves more than just traditional medical treatments, a holistic nursing career may be perfect for you.