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State Nurse Practice Acts

legally, the standards described in your state's nurse practice act or the administrative rules apply to all nursing practice in your state. 

if you practice a specialty, such as medical-surgical, critical care, pediatrics, oncology, holistic nursing, etc., you are also bound by the national scope and standards of practice for your specialty. both the general and the specialty standards of practice may be introduced in court as a part of the expectations a client or a community may have for a nurse. the "holistic nursing: scope and standards of practice" (2019) book, published jointly by the ana and the american holistic nurses association (ahna), sets the national standards for holistic nursing education, research and practice. that publication is available for purchase here.

you can learn more at the american nurses association’s (ana) website: this site explains what practice standards are and what behaviors are expected of rns.


December 2019 Summary
The following report is the AHNA 2019 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 that referenced or addressed holistic nursing, holism and/or complementary alternative modalities (CAM) or integrative therapies within the 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, originially 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 2019, Megan A. Smith, AHNA staff, contact every BON.

Four states have direct references in their respective Nurse Practice Acts that mention holism/holistic as defined or recognize holistic nursing as a specialty (IL, NV, OR, TX). Sixteen states incorporated references and/or position statements separate from their Nurse Practice Acts on holism/holistic treatments or CAM (also referred to also 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 16 states that incorporated holistic-related references:

2019 Nurse Practice Act Analysis

Compiled by Terri Roberts, JD, RN, Executive Director, AHNA. Contributors: 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 October 2019. 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.