What is Holistic Nursing and Why is it So Important?

These days, people have the option between traditional nursing and holistic nursing. Most people are very familiar with the former. The latter is an emerging nursing model whose roots go back to the very beginning of the modern nursing movement. But, what is holistic nursing and why is it so important? Let’s find out.

What is Holistic Nursing?

Holistic nursing is nursing, but with the aim of healing the whole person and not just the body. This is according to the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). The association views holistic nursing as more than a practice. To them, it is a philosophy of living that incorporates certain principles.

These include caring, responsibility, relationships, reflection, and spirituality. To the AHNA, these principles make nurses more aware of and closer to nature, themselves, and others. Holistic nurses may have a nurse practitioner doctorate degree from Bradley University and still practice according to holistic standards. The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) certifies them for practice.

The History of Holistic Nursing

Holistic nursing traces its roots back to the work of Florence Nightingale. She is regarded as the first holistic nurse and is the inspiration for the movement. Besides teaching nursing practices, she also taught nurses how to focus on unity and wellness as well. And it was during her time that nursing emerged as an accepted medical profession.

For decades, traditional nursing focused on western medical practices and treating the body. In the 1970s the focus started shifting back to holistic practices. And there were two reasons for this shift. The first was the work of scholars such as Dossey who developed an influential holistic nursing theory. The second was research which linked the mind and body to wellness. It proposed a more patient-oriented healthcare. This shift to holistic practices culminated in the founding of the AHNA in 1980.

Holistic Nursing as a Specialty Practice

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognized holistic nursing as a specialty practice in 2006. This status gave holistic nurses a recognizable identity in the healthcare sector. It also served as a basis for practice.

Scope and Standards for Holistic Nursing

The Holistic Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice is the document which outlines the standards and scope of holistic nursing. Its publishing was a joint effort between the ANA and AHNA. This document defines holistic nursing, details its history, and describes its values and principles.

It also highlights certification procedures and education requirements for holistic nurses. These standards apply to all nurses regardless of whether they have basic nursing qualifications or have gone through online doctoral nursing programs. Finally, it lists the five core values of holistic practice. There is holistic philosophy, caring, communication, education, and finally, self-care.

How Are the Standards Applied?

Holistic nurses practice in diverse settings and patient groups. Each nurse must continue to adapt and develop her skills to suit each setting, patient, and disease. Remember, holistic nursing is a philosophy of being and is thus not static. All the same, the scope and standards of holistic practice remains a blueprint which all nurses follow.

The Future of Holistic Nursing

Holistic practice is still evolving and it will continue to do so. And as more hospitals incorporate it into their service delivery models, its role in patient care will only increase. Its main attraction is and continues to be its emphasis on the whole being.

Conclusion

Holistic nursing is here to stay. Unlike traditional nursing practices, it includes the whole person in its medical approaches. By insisting on preventative care and lifestyle changes, its effects also last longer.

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