Exploring holistic nursing


— Nurses wear many hats. In addition to tending to patients and helping families of patients, nurses incorporate the latest technologies into patients’ treatment. Some even work outside of hospitals and doctor’s offices to train the next generation of nurses.

Nursing has also branched out to include holistic nursing, which employs alternative medicine to care for patients. Alternative medicine is sometimes combined with traditional western medicine, requiring holistic nurses, who are sometimes referred to as “complementary health nurses,” understand both holistic and traditional nursing methods.

According to the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, holistic nursing is rooted in the idea that nurses cannot treat a patient’s physical health without addressing the whole person. In addition to addressing their patients’ physical problems, holistic nurses will also try to address their patients’ mental, spiritual and emotional well-being.

Holistic nursing is a growing field, and it’s entirely possible that the role of holistic nurses will expand in the years to come. Some of the things today’s holistic nurses do include:

· acupuncture

· assisting patients with managing stress

· aromatherapy

· massage

· hypnosis, hydrotherapy and balneotherapy

· Chinese and Eastern healing practices

· wellness coaching

According to the American Holistic Nurses Association, holistic nursing is not intended to negate the validity of conventional medical therapies, such as traditional nursing. Holistic nursing serves to complement, broaden and enrich the scope of nursing practices while aiming to help patients access their greatest healing potential.

The AHNA notes that holistic nurses must be registered and/or licensed. Such nurses may be found working at hospitals, universities and private practices.

Men and women interested in pursuing a career in nursing can learn more about holistic nursing at www.ahna.org.