We all have an idea of the role of a nurse- helping patients avoid, treat medical conditions, and improve their overall health. However, if you dig into the specifics of the practice, things can get murky quickly. One aspect of nursing that may have poked your curiosity is holistic nursing. Doing a search on the topic will tell you that it is the aspect of treating the patient as a whole. This is correct, but there are many other questions to answer in order to understand this domain of nursing.
In this read, we are going to explain holistic nursing and important factors that you should know.
What Is Holistic Nursing?
The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) defines holistic nursing as a nursing practice with the goal of treating the patient as a whole. This means it is not just about the tasks done, but the attitude of treating the whole individual as well. Practitioners in this field also integrate spirituality, self-care, and self-responsibility.
The principles can eliminate healing barriers. In addition, they create the space required to help people become instruments in their healing process. When conventional medicine is used with unconventional treatments, it is referred to as complementary medicine. When used in place of traditional medicine, it is referred to as an alternative.
That said, here are some important facts you should know about holistic nursing:
Holistic Practitioners can Work in Numerous Healthcare Settings
Nurses in this field can work in an array of healthcare environments including:
-Universities and colleges
-Acute care hospitals
-High schools and grade schools
-Palliative care programs
Also, these nurses can choose to advance their clinical practice and education to work as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners.
Holistic Nursing Employs Both Alternative & Conventional Therapies
Nurses in this field employ an integrative treatment approach. This is the combination of both conventional medical practices and alternative therapies. The most common complementary approaches, according to the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health, include most of the approaches recommended in holistic nursing. Examples include:
-Yoga or tai chi
It Has 5 Core Values of Practice
Holistic nursing is practiced under 5 principle core values which form the basis for diagnosis and recommendations. These principles include:
(i) Holistic philosophy & education- holistic care is based on a philosophical foundation that embraces education, knowledge, and reflection.
(ii) Holistic nurse self-care- in order for nurses in this field to be able to care for their patients, they need to practice self-care as well.
(iii) Holistic theories, research, and ethics- this field is grounded in theory, bound by ethics, and driven by research.
(iv) Holistic caring process- diagnosis and care include the patient’s problems, needs, and patterns.
(v) Holistic communication, cultural competence, and the therapeutic environment- holistic nurses are expected to respect the patient’s cultural practices and beliefs.
Holistic Nurses Employ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Treatment Approaches
Up to 80% of people around the world use alternative or complementary healing approaches. However, they can only be holistic when utilized to support the care of the whole individual. The integrative approach involves coordinating complementary and conventional treatments for healing and overall health.
It Involves More than Just Modalities Integration
One of the most common myths is that holistic nursing is just a collection of alternative and complementary treatments. However, this could not be further from the truth. While these treatments are essential, the development of a healthy relationship between the patient and practitioner plays a role in the healing process. A practitioner who integrates treatment options in addition to nurturing a quality relationship is said to be performing holistic nursing.
It Involves Treating More than Just the Symptoms
Traditional forms of treatment involve matching your symptoms with an established medical condition. Holistic care, however, takes the approach an extra step. It entails searching for the root cause of the medical condition. This way, the practitioner can determine the best treatment for higher chances of success.
Traditional medicine, for example, may recommend muscle relaxers for your back pain. Holistic care, on the other hand, may consider alternatives to your posture and gait that resulted in the pain and recommend the best treatment available.
Holistic Principles Have Been Practiced for Centuries
Nursing has been based on holistic care principles since the 18th century. Practitioners have been using homeopathy, water therapy, and acupressure since the 1700s. Acupressure is the non-invasive version of acupuncture that has been used in conventional Chinese medicine for over 3000 years.
It Improves Patient Care
A deep analysis of this form of treatment clarifies the healthcare framework definition. For some individuals, holistic nursing has a negative connotation. However, we cannot dispute the positive outcomes. Holistic care is known to contribute to health, recovery, patient personal development as well as nurses’ professional and personal development.
As you can see, there’s a lot to learn and digest in the holistic nursing field. If you wish to learn more, do not hesitate to contact The Nurse Coach Collective!