Holistic Nursing IS the Answer and Research IS the Key

Guest Editorial by Colleen Delaney PhD, RN, AHN-BC 

"Holistic nursing is the answer to transforming health care," is a phrase I often hear from our beloved members as well as a deeply rooted belief shared among all of us at AHNA. It is also frequently discussed in our Leadership Council meetings as we plan our future and envision our association as a national leader in the transformation of nursing education and practice; and ultimately how health care is delivered. 

We all know that this great work we do together holds the key to change. But how do we go from knowing this to implementing holistic nursing across academics and practice environments? I believe it all comes down to evidence. Evidence is the key. Evidence is what shifts attitudes and changes practice. Evidence that the work we do as holistic nurses through our focus on the whole person makes an important difference in the patient's lives we touch as well as our own. 


A shared vision of the Research Committee (RC) is to facilitate our members' use of existing evidence related to holistic nursing practice and modalities and supporting the creation of new evidence. As the RC coordinator, it is my passion and privilege to contribute to making this vision a reality. The RC already has a strong foundation and we are ready to bring our work to the next level on the national stage. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by a group of nurses with a deep commitment to advancing our work and meeting the needs of our members.


Last year, we conducted a research needs assessment with about 600 members responding. The results were exciting and confirmed our members' interest in evidence-based holistic nursing practice and research. Here are some highlights from our assessment:

Participants interested in learning more about:

  • 98% holistic evidence-based nursing interventions
  • 96% CAM research
  • 92% theory-driven research in holistic nursing 
  • 82.8% networking with other researchers
  • 80.2% learning more about grant-writing
  • 79.2% obtaining grant funding opportunities

Specific research activities of interest

  • 72.7% designing research based nursing practice interventions
  • 64% critiquing research for use in practice
  • 63.9% formulating research questions

Other Requests for Education and Support

  • Current credible resources for EBP
  • Guidance in bringing HN interventions into the work place
  • Support in getting started with research

These identified member needs have become our priority for the next 2 years and we are planning several activities. Here's a few of our upcoming plans:

  • "Ask a Researcher" webinars
  • Journal Club Research support program: Future development of research resources on AHNA research section of website
  • Conference Research Panels and Symposiums
  • Quarterly research phone conferences

We are always looking for new ideas and new members for our RC. Please consider joining us!

In upcoming issues, you will meet the new leadership of the RC and hear about member's use of evidence-based holistic nursing practice and research studies.

As we begin 2013, I wish you a year full of positive research findings and nursing empowerment through the use of evidence-based holistic nursing care, and I encourage members to begin to ask new questions to further advance our work. The RC is here to help and support you!


All the Best,





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