What is Holistic Nursing?
Holistic Nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” (American Holistic Nurses’ Association, 1998). Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be the founder of Holistic Nursing, taught nurses to focus on the principles of holism: unity, wellness and the interrelationship of human beings and their environment.
Holistic Nursing is not merely something we do. It is also an attitude, a philosophy and a way of being that requires nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their lives. This often leads the nurse to greater awareness of the interconnectedness of self, others, nature, spirit and relationship with the global community.
For More Information:
Holistic Nursing: A Way of Being, a Way of Living, a Way of Practice Article by Lucia Thornton RN, MSN, AHN-BC
Holistic Nursing Is a Nursing Specialty
Holistic nursing is recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA) as a nursing specialty with a defined scope and standards of practice by which all holistic nurses are held accountable. Holistic nursing is based upon:
- A unique body of knowledge
- Evidence-based research
- Sophisticated skills
- Defined standards of practice
- A diversity of modalities from a broad range of health practices
- A philosophy of living and being that is grounded in caring, relationship and interconnectedness
Why Is Specialty Status Important?
ANA recognition as a nursing specialty distinguishes holistic nursing from general nursing practice by acknowledging holistic nursing’s unique contribution to the health and healing of people and society. Specialty status provides both nurses and the public with greater clarity, sets a foundation for holistic practice, and strengthens the voice of the entire profession. It also helps holistic nurses articulate, explore and develop who they are.
Nursing certifications distinguish nurses as experts in nursing practice, education and research. Certifications in Holistic Nursing and Nurse Coaching are available through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) which is a separate organization from the AHNA. These certification examinations are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification [ABSNC] and are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center [ANCC] Magnet Program. Holistic nursing is unique in that it can be practiced within all other nursing specialties by applying the principles of holism to client care.
Holistic Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice
Holistic Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, Second Edition (2019), co-published with ANA, defines what holistic nursing is, what holistic nurses do, and the responsibilities for which holistic nurses are accountable.
Holistic Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice is an essential resource for nurses and others in related healthcare work, including care providers, educators, researchers and administrators, and those involved in funding, legal, policy and regulatory activities. The holistic nursing scope and standards of practice can deeply influence nursing practice. These standards:
- Provide schools and universities with a template for curricula and influence the development of continuing education programs
- Validate research and attract research funds
- Provide for recognition by state boards of nursing
- Describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities that hospitals and other health care agencies can expect from the nurses they hire
- Help the professional practice regulate itself
Click here to purchase the Holistic Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice book through the AHNA online store.