What to Expect

What to expect from your first experience with a holistic nursing practitioner:

Holistic nurses espouse a philosophy of seeing the client as a whole which incorporates the aspects of body, mind, emotion and spirit. They are found in all arenas of healthcare, from Emergency Departments to Intensive Care, to Outpatient surgery and clinics, and in private practices. You can ask to be assigned to a holistic nurse in a hospital and you can seek one out in a clinic or private practice.

  • Your holistic nurse will have an air of calmness and centeredness
  • Your holistic nurse will be a good listener
  • There will be concern and questions related to all aspects of your life--body, mind, emotion and spirit
  • There will be a non-judgmental attitude toward your issues and concerns
  • Some holistic nurses specialize in nutritional and nutriceutical aspects of health care
  • Some holistic nurses use modalities that work on energy fields in the body
  • Holistic nurses blend traditional western medical practice with complimentary healing practices and are versed in both
  • In a private practice setting be prepared to answer a number of questions or perhaps fill out a questionnaire before you even get to the first appointment. This is to help you think through things before the visit
  • Be clear about what you want out of the visit. Share this with the nurse or nurse practitioner
  • Holistic Nurse Practitioners have advanced degrees which allow them to prescribe mainstream medical treatment and offer other options for care that might be outside of mainstream medicine


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Criteria for choosing a good holistic nurse or nurse practitioner:

The term 'nurse' is difficult for clients because it can mean different things. There are Licensed Practical Nurses who work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. There are Registered Nurses with various levels of degrees from Associate, to Bachelor, to Masters, to doctorally prepared. Holistic nursing has been recognized by the American Nurses Association as a specialty practice and there are two credentials that can be obtained by testing from the America Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (AHNCC); one as a Holistic Nurse-Board Certified (HN-BC) for nurses at the Baccalaureate level and the other the Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse- Board Certified (AHN-BC) for nurses with Masters-Degrees or higher.

Not all nurses who claim to be holistic are certified. Many have the heart of the philosophy without a lot of formal training. Newer graduates in both nursing and medicine are receiving some training in holism in their schools. Ideally the nurse provider you are looking for is credentialed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation.

A brief interview visit is a good place to start with any healthcare provider before you begin active work on your issues. At that initial interview you can find out what the person has to offer, what their credentials are, and how you the client feel about your interaction with them.

"The words 'Holistic Nursing' mean  nursing the whole person in the ways of Nightingale….fresh air, fresh food and water, spiritual sustenance, and mental and emotional support leading to clarity for the one being cared for." -- AHNA member Julie Nelson RN, HN-BC



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