Holistic Nurse Overview

  • What You Will Do: Provide professional nursing care with a focus on treating the patient as a whole, with a mind-body-spirit-emotion approach.
  • Where Will You Work: Typically holitistic nurses are primarily employed in private practice establishments, birth centers or patient homes.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Similarly, the employment outlook for holistic nurses is excellent.
  • How Much Will I Earn: Depending on the location, holistic nurses will earn between $45,695 and $86, 471 annually, with a median yearly salary of 68,450.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become an RN, obtain experience in holistic nursing, then, obtain certification as a holistic nurse.

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

 Steps to Become a Hospice Nurse

  • Earn Your RN degree: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited associate degree (ADN) or bachelor degree (BSN) program. Many employers prefer a BSN degree. To further advance as a holistic nurse, a master’s degree (MSN) is recommended.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: All RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice professional nursing.
  • Obtain Professional Nursing Experience: On obtaining licensure, RNs seeking to specialize in holistic nursing must first gain professional nursing clinical experience.
  • Obtain Certification as a Holistic Nurse: You must have a minimum of 1 year professional nursing experience, and 48 hours of continuing education related to holistic nursing care. Certification is offered through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC).

How Do I Become a Holistic Nurse?

The first step toward becoming a holistic nurse is to become a Registered Nurse, earning an associate (ADN) or bachelor of science degree (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. It is important to note that many employers prefer at least a BSN. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Once you have achieved licensure, you will need to obtain professional nursing clinical experience.

The AHNCC offers several levels of certification, depending on education level. Certifications at the undergraduate level are; Holistic Nurse Board Certified (HN – BC) and Holistic Nurse Baccalaureate Board Certified (HNB – BC). Eligibility requirements;

  • Hold current, active RN licensure
  • Have a minimum of 1 year full-time professional nursing experience
  • Have 48 hours of continuing education in Holistic Nursing Theory, Research, Practice or related topics.
  • Graduate of a nationally accredited nursing program (HN – BC) or nationally accredited Baccalaureate Nursing program (HNB – BC).

Certification is valid for 5 years, after which it must be renewed by meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Advanced practice certifications for master’s prepared nurses, are; Advanced Holistic Nurse Board Certified (AHN – BC), or Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse Board Certified (APHN – BC). Eligibility requirements:

  • Hold current, active RN licensure
  • Have a minimum of 1 year full-time professional nursing experience, and a minimum of 500 hours in advanced practice
  • Have 48 hours of continuing education in Holistic Nursing Theory, Research, Practice or related topics.
  • Graduate of a nationally accredited Graduate Nursing Program (MSN or DNP)

This certification is valid for 5 years. Recertification requires meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of renewal, such as specialty-related professional development and practice activities. If this is not possible, the certification exam must be retaken.

Where Do Holistic Nurses Typically Work?

Holistic nurses can work in a wide variety of setting including holistic medicine practices, holistic health clinics or holistic spas. They also often work for holistic doctors as holistic nurse practitioners and holistic nursing managers. Holistic nurses are also employed by hospitals, hospice care facilities, long term residential health care facilities and more.

As holistic nurses focus on holistic medicine rather than just treating symptoms of the whole person for maximum healing potential at the lowest cost to their patients or clients.

How Much Do Holistic Nurses Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% +, much higher than the national average. This is dependent on the job, and the geographical area. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 96,470 – 81,380);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly, as will advanced degrees in nursing, either MSN or DNP.

What do Holistic Nurses Do?

Holistic nursing is an holistic philosophy of nursing and holistic care. Holistic nurses often work in holistic health clinics, holistic medicine practices or holistic massage schools but can also be found working at general hospitals, oncology centers and hospices. They do the same job as any other nurse would do in caring for patients or clients by assessing their needs and conditions effectively and efficiently then giving them holistic medical treatment that is customized to their specific needs.

As holistic nurses focus more on the whole person rather than just a list of symptoms they are better able to help patients improve their health holistically which means looking at how different aspects of a patient’s life combined with environmental factors played a role in the illness or disease symptoms they may be experiencing right now.

Holistic Nursing Programs

Your classes at holistic nursing school may include anything from how to diagnose illnesses through alternative medicine modalities such as acupuncture and herbal therapy to how to assess patients holistically using energy healing techniques like qi gong and reiki. A majority of your courses, however, will involve learning about holistic nutrition and how to choose holistic foods for optimal health.

You’ll also learn about the different holistic treatment modalities available to you such as acupuncture, herbal therapy, homeopathy and more so you can make an informed decision on which form of alternative healing is best for you and your patients or clients. You’ll even get hands on training in a certified holistic nursing internship that will allow you to put what you’ve learned into practice so when it comes time to take your National Certification Board Exam (NCLEX) test for registered nurses after graduation from your holistic nursing degree program, you’re ready.

At the undergraduate level, the AHNCC has approved several BSN or RN – BSN programs http://www.ahncc.org/school-endorsement-program/current-endorsed-nursing-programs/  Some examples of approved undergraduate nursing programs include:

Continuing education related to holistic nursing is also available through the American Holistic Nurses Association via conferences, online webinars, and the Integrative Healing Arts Program, an 84 hour continuing education workshop.

Becoming a holistic nurse practitioner or clinical specialist requires earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). Some examples of universities/programs offering a holistic nurse advanced practice nursing (APRN) subspecialty or graduate certification include:

Discover Additional Ways to Earn Your Nursing Degree

What is a Typical Holistic Nursing Curriculum?

Nursing Programs endorsed by the AHNCC include a holistic, integrative focus, and courses addressing complementary and alternative nursing theory.

Continuing education at the undergraduate level focuses on broad range of related topics, including;

  • Caring for self, caring for others
  • Philosophy and spirituality in healing
  • Holistic nursing practice theory
  • Energy systems and energy healing
  • Transformational leadership
  • Aromatherapy
  • Mindfulness and resilience
  • Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Yoga
  • Reflexology
  • Therapeutic music and guided imagery

At the graduate level, nurses typically begin with pursuing an MSN degree. Typically, holistic  nursing is offered as a sub-specialty, or as post-graduate certificate program beyond the MSN. These programs focus on aspects of holistic nursing, including;

  • Holistic nursing theories
  • Psychoneuroimmunology
  • Guided imagery and hypnosis
  • Herbology and pharmacology
  • Advanced holistic assessment
  • Complementary healing modalities
  • Ancient healing practices
  • Integrative medicine combining Western and other healing approaches
  • Advanced holistic nursing clinical practicum

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Growing Role of Holistic Nurses in Healthcare

Holistic nurses are becoming more and more popular thanks in large part towards the holistic nutrition movement which is spurring better overall public health across the country. They also seem to be gaining traction because of an increased focus by holistic health clinics, holistic medicine practices and individuals interested in holistic wellness that holistic nurses can offer them. A growing demand for holistic healthcare seems assured as the United States continues to battle rising healthcare costs while simultaneously trying to find ways to improve our nation’s overall public health.

The Role of the Holistic Nurse in the Nursing Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Similarly, employment opportunities for nurses specializing in holistic nursing are expected to expand, with a predicted increase of 19%. A growing interest in complementary and alternative health care among both the public and healthcare professionals makes this specialty a very stable career path for professional nurses.

Holistic Nurse Resources

References:

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Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.