What Is a Holistic Approach in Nursing?

The American Holistic Nurses Association defines holistic nursing as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal.” This approach to nursing care is about supporting a person’s overall well-being — such as a person’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual health — and not just treating a health issue by itself.

Often, holistic nursing includes both conventional and non-conventional approaches to healthcare and medicine, such as therapy, exercise, guided imagery, nutritional counseling, breathing techniques and more.

The Importance of Overall Health and Wellness

A holistic approach aims to heal the individual from whatever disease or illness they may suffer, whether it relates to their mental/emotional or physical health. Therefore, the overall topic of health and wellness is integral.

Holistic nurses are typically encouraged to “incorporate self-care, self-responsibility, reflection and spirituality into their daily lives,” states Nursing License Map. This allows patients to have an alternative method of healing from their specific health concerns.

According to the National Library of Medicine, “many of the remedies for common illnesses are solved through incorporating natural remedies and healing therapies.” These natural treatments allow the patient to heal on their own terms.

Another primary goal of the holistic approach is to remove some of the more “conventional” barriers patients encounter upon addressing their respective health problems. It’s one of the tenets Florence Nightingale promoted in her tenure as a nursing trailblazer.

With holistic nursing, nurses learn how to prescribe treatments that are chemical-free to ensure that the patient is not receiving anything that could potentially harm them now or in the future. However, these nurses must also be ready to educate patients about possible interactions between necessary prescription medications and holistic remedies.

Benefits of Holistic Nursing

Many of the profession-related benefits involved in holistic nursing include:

  • Variation in job responsibilities, such as taking on multiple patients with different situations and outcomes for their treatment regimen
  • Working directly with patients to ensure that there is a relationship between nurse and patient
  • Out-of-hospital opportunities to treat patients wherever they are or when needed at their convenience

This profession helps patients at every point in their life, no matter the severity of their disease or projected life expectancy. Oftentimes, the holistic nurse will teach patients classes about wellness and preventive healthcare. This is a unique aspect of the profession because it caters to those who might not have an illness at that moment in time. But, it allows them to take action to prevent such an occurrence from happening in the future.

For example, the Johnson & Johnson Nursing website states that these treatments range from “acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage and hypnosis, as well as nutrition advice and natural products to help patients with their needs.”

Any specialty treatments are determined by the type of illness, as well as potential life-threatening factors that may contribute to the patient’s decline in overall wellness.

Empower Your Nursing Career With an RN to BSN Degree

One way to explore this option is to further your education in holistic nursing and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who enroll in the Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN online program at Radford University will help improve patient outcomes and fast-track their nursing career as industry leaders.

In as few as 10 months, students will learn to collaborate with other healthcare team members to promote a culture of safety and caring within the therapeutic nurse-patient relationship.

Graduates of this program will advance their leadership skills and communicate effectively with patients, families, team members and administrators while providing high-quality nursing care. For example, the program’s Holistic Nursing course focuses on the importance of overall patient health and wellness through nurse coaching activities designed for top-quality patient care.

Each future nurse leader will advocate for consumers and the nursing profession on a regional, state, national and global level to become a more compassionate.

Learn more about Radford University’s online RN to BSN program.

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