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Everything You Need to Know About Holistic Nursing Care: Principles, Benefits, Requirements, And More

From a patient’s perspective, many of them see all nurses as one and the same kind. However, as an aspiring nurse, you know very well that that is not the case. Choosing a specialty can be a tough decision to make. There’s just so many options from pediatrics, surgical, intensive care, and the list goes on. Yet there is one specialty in particular that is becoming popular of late, not only amongst nurses, but with patients as well: holistic nursing care.

Out of the 4.2 million registered nurses in the United States, approximately only less than one percent practice holistic nursing care as part of the American Holistic Nurses Association. Studies that suggest that a person’s physical well-being is somehow connected to their spiritual and mental health have been gaining a lot of interest since 2006. As a result, the demand for holistic nurses has been steadily growing according to the Pacific College of Health and Science.

What exactly is holistic care in nursing, and what sets it apart from traditional nursing care? How do you become a holistic nurse? If you are planning to pursue a holistic nursing career but also wondering if it is a good fit for you or not, don’t fret. We have created this guide that can answer some of your questions and help you decide on just that.


What is Holistic Nursing Care?

Holistic nursing is the practice of healing not only a person’s physical body but the whole package. This includes the patient’s mental, spiritual, social, and emotional well-being.

It is based on Florence Nightingale’s unique view on wellness and health that focuses on the three principles of holism: wellness, unity, and the innate connection of people to their environment. Nightingale, who is considered the founder of holistic nursing care, believed healing a person from the inside out would be more beneficial to a patient’s long-term wellness.


What is a Holistic Nurse?

Holistic nurses are licensed nurses who provide total care to a patient that transcends traditional nursing practices of treating a patient’s specific medical conditions only. They bring a unique perspective to the more commonly known nursing care that primarily focuses on Western treatments.

They are guided by these five core values as defined by the American Holistic Nursing Association:

  • Holistic Philosophy and Education
  • Holistic Ethics, Theories, and Research
  • Holistic Nurse Self-Care
  • Holistic Communication, Therapeutic Environment, and Cultural Competence
  • Holistic Caring Process


What Do Holistic Nurses Do?

Unlike their traditional counterparts, holistic nurses form a connection with their patients on a spiritual and emotional level to better understand each patient’s specific needs. They sometimes use traditional medicine in conjunction with the following holistic healing techniques to aid them toward long-term recovery:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Eastern medicine
  • Hydrotherapy and balneotherapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage
  • Wellness coaching
  • Reflexology
  • Meditation


What Are the Principles of Holistic Care

Here are some of the foundations that holistic nurses live by:


One of the fundamentals of providing holistic care is done through several interventions that take into account a patient’s mental and physical well-being following a proper diagnosis. These interventions may come in the form of psychological therapy, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, and Problem-Solving Therapy.


Fostering a relationship with your patients based on respect, openness, and genuine care is considered an essential factor in providing effective holistic care. This allows holistic nurses to give mutually agreed individualized care that caters to each patient’s diverse needs.


Aside from looking and caring for their patients, holistic nurses are also encouraged to practice self-care and imbue their daily lives with spirituality. It is believed that their feelings and emotions will greatly affect how they deal with their patients.


Holistic nurses provide constant encouragement to their patients to incorporate self-care and spirituality into their lives to help them heal from within.


How Does Holistic Nursing Care Improve Patient Care?

While some doctors might say that holistic care couldn’t treat illnesses like kidney failure or other heart-related diseases, many patients and holistic nursing practitioners attest that the holistic approach has drastically improved their overall health. This is because holistic nursing care aims to improve the health of the patient’s entire body, mind, and spirit instead of focusing on specific symptoms to treat illnesses.

Here are some of the benefits that holistic care can do to a patient:

  • Improved lifestyle and changes in habit
  • A stronger body that can fight off the early symptoms of a disease
  • Improved natural healing abilities
  • The prevention of different illnesses and diseases
  • Lower anxiety and stress levels
  • The decreasing symptoms of depression
  • A desire for healthy living


How To Become a Holistic Nurse?

Here are the steps you need to take if you want to pursue a career in holistic nursing.

Step 1: Obtain A Nursing Degree

To jumpstart your holistic nursing career, you must first earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from an accredited nursing program. In some cases, you might be able to find entry-level positions with only an ADN. However, most employers would likely favor applicants that have obtained a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLX-RN)

You become eligible to take your state’s NCLEX-RN examination after obtaining a BSN and/or ADN. Like all other registered nurses, holistic nurses are required to pass the exam before they are allowed to practice it legally.

Step 3: Gain Bedside Experience

Before becoming a holistic registered nurse, you may also need to gain bedside experience and deliver direct and immediate care to your patient. However, unlike other specialties, holistic nursing does not require the usual minimum experience in bedside care.

Step 4: Acquire Nursing Certifications

To specialize in holistic nursing, you need to obtain a holistic nurse certification through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation. They offer several certifications, such as:

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

As per the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for HN-BC:

  • Graduated from a nationally-accredited nursing program
  • Has a valid registered-nurse license
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of part-time practice within the last five years or one year in full-time practice
  • A minimum 48 contact hours of continuing nursing education in holistic nursing theory, research, practice or related topics within the previous two years


Is Holistic Nursing Care Right for You?

Holistic nursing is not just a job—it is a calling. This is how many professional holistic nurses perceive the profession. It requires you to not only understand the holistic philosophy and principles but to actually imbibe it in your personal life to become effective at what you do.

If you are passionate about helping other people heal beyond their physical pain and make a real difference in their lives, then you’ll definitely find holistic nursing a rewarding career path. Follow your heart and take the first step towards treating patients and living life the holistic way.



At PRS Global, our goal is to help you jumpstart your holistic nursing career and help you take it to the next level. We’re here to help you find not just any job but a vocation that perfectly matches your skills, experience, and holistic ideology. Our team will guide you all the way to ensure your smooth application process as a direct-hire international nurse. Contact us today!