Today’s generation has made a turn back to the more natural ways of doing things. Everything from recycling to using all natural, ‘green’ products and even seeking alternative healthcare has become common place in today’s world. Many up and coming nurses are seeking holistic nursing degree programs in an effort to continue the trend toward more natural and alternative medicine.
What are Holistic Nurses?
A holistic nurse is a nurse who has additional training in holistic medicine. Holistic nurses typically provide assistance to practitioners of CAM or complementary and alternative medicine. CAM may be practiced alone or in combination with traditional medicine. Holistic doctors and nurses together work to keep the whole body healthy so that illness doesn’t affect any one part.
The holistic medical view is one that says a person cannot be treated for one condition; the whole being must be treated. This means that your spiritual, mental and emotional health must be treated in order to treat the ailment. Nurses who have been through holistic nursing degree programs are trained to look at all of these aspects and don’t typically approach their nursing profession in the same manner as traditional nurses.
What Do Holistic Nurses Do?
Once a holistic nurse has graduated nursing school and had their additional training in holistic medicine, there are many areas they can work in or even become certified to practice in, such as:
- Alternative medical treatments such as acupuncture
- Stress management through massage and aromatherapy
- Hospital departments that use hypnosis and hydrotherapy
- Therapy offices and mental health facilities helping with depression and addiction
Treatment options often used by holistic nurses include:
- aroma therapy
- massage therapy
- mineral water therapy
- mental healing
- physical therapy
Training in these areas is part of the holistic courses that you will take after you become a registered nurse and start preparing to work in holistic medicine.
Holistic nurses often use a combination of medical knowledge, including Eastern healing medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine. These can be used alone or in combination with traditional western medicine. Some holistic nurses become wellness coaches and work to help others stay healthy without the need for invasive medical techniques and medications.
Becoming a Holistic Nurse
As with any type of nursing career, the first step is the nursing degree. The school should be an accredited school although it isn’t of vital importance whether or not you get a BS or an Associate’s Degree. You don’t want to get a diploma in nursing if you plan to purse a holistic nursing degree as that is not generally accepted. Once you complete your nursing program you should take and successfully complete your certification exam, the NCLEX-RN.
At this point, you should decide if you plan on specializing or adding skills to your holistic nursing such as acupuncture. If so, you will need to find out what the laws in your state are and make sure you are certified to perform the procedure.
You can work gaining experience as a typical staff nurses while you are working on the courses required to make you eligible to take the examination for holistic certification. You can also apply to work in a holistic medical practice in order to get training in the area. The American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation can help you find these specialized medical offices and also give you advice on taking the holistic nursing certification test.
Advanced Holistic Nursing
As with any nursing career, you may want to advance after being in the field a few years. In holistic nursing this can mean many different things, from becoming a wellness coach with your own business to obtaining your Master’s Degree for nurse practitioners and becoming a holistic nurse practitioner who can create treatment plans for patients and have a more active and decisive role in patient care.
If you prefer to take the natural approach to health and life in general then holistic nursing degree programs might be the right pathway for you to take your nursing career. You can learn to treat the whole body and not simply the one outward manifestation of illness. Holistic nursing is popular career choice for today’s healthcare industry.