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State Nurse Practice Acts

Nurse Practice Act (NPA) Analysis

December 2016 Summary

The following report is the AHNA 2016 Summary of U.S. Nurse Practice Acts (NPA) in all 50 states and six jurisdictions that license RNs, as they relate to Holistic Nursing.

In 2011-2012, the AHNA Practice Committee initiated a project to provide a specific state-by-state analysis of Nurse Practice Acts (NPA) that referenced or addressed holistic nursing, holism and/ or complementary alternative modalities (CAM) or integrative therapies within the scope of practice of registered nurses (RNs). The initial analysis was prepared by Rebecca Cohen, EdD, RN, MS, MPA, HNB-BC with assistance from intern Sophia Bergum. In the summers of 2013, 2014, and 2015, Sarah Schneider, originally an intern from Rogers State University in Oklahoma, contacted every Board of Nursing (BON) to verify and obtain updated information about NPA language changes pertaining to holistic nursing, holism, and CAM, as well as position statement adoption by the BON that addressed any aspect of these. In 2016, Tabetha Schoenfeld, AHNA staff, contacted every BON.


Since AHNA’s last NPA analysis in 2015, Kentucky issued an Advisory Opinion on Acupuncture: “The performance of acupuncture is within the scope of advanced practice registered nursing practice for the APRN who is currently educationally prepared and clinically competent in the performance of the procedure.” Further, the APRN should maintain documentation of having completed a nationally recognized course of study in acupuncture. The performance of acupuncture should be in accordance with documented facility policy and procedures and credentialing processes, as well as current evidence-based practice. Vermont updated references in their current position statements to reflect the name change of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). 
Four states have direct references in their respective Nurse Practice Acts that mention holism/holistic as defined or that recognize holistic nursing as a specialty (IL, NV, OR, TX). Seventeen states incorporated references and/or position statements separate from their Nurse Practice Acts on holism/holistic treatments or CAM (also referred to as Complementary Integrative Health Approaches). Not all BONs are authorized to adopt position statements.


Click the following link for a summary of AHNA’s findings for the 17 states that incorporated holistic-related references:

2016 Nurse Practice Act Analysis

Compiled by Terri Roberts, JD, RN, Executive Director, AHNA. Contributors: Tabetha Schoenfeld, Sarah Schneider, Rebecca Cohen, EdD, RN, MS, MPA, HNB-BC, and Sophie Bergum

NOTE: IF YOU DO NOT AGREE OR UNDERSTAND ANY OR ALL OF THE FOLLOWING TERMS, PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS WEB PAGE. The following information was last revised July 2014. Information provided on this page came from an analysis of state Nurse Practice Acts, advisories, and position statements, compiled as a resource. This information is provided "as is" without any warranty. The American Holistic Nurses Association does not make representations as to its accuracy, reliability or completeness and disclaims any responsibility for positions taken by individuals or corporations in their individual cases or for any misunderstanding and losses, directly or indirectly, on the part of the users. For the most current information, please visit your State Board of Nursing website. A list of BON websites and contact information can be found at:

This image shows the relationship of how many states have practice acts that specifically mention holistic practices in their "state practice acts".

This Nurse Practice Act Project is sponsored by Nurses Service Organization, a partner in supporting Registered Nurses in their Holistic nursing practice.