Holistic Nurse: Education and Career Information
There’s a growing trend known as holistic medicine that dictates people return to the natural way of treating what ails them rather than relying on harmful drugs and invasive surgeries. At the same time, holistic medicine seeks to treat a person’s mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being as much as it does their physical well-being. Compared to the rest of the medical field at large, holistic medicine is still a relatively niche field, however, it is growing rapidly. One exciting career that holistic medicine has given rise to is that of the holistic nurse.
What does a holistic nurse do?
A holistic nurse performs many of the same functions as a standard nurse, they just approach them in an entirely different way. Rather than just analyzing a patient’s physical symptoms and making a diagnosis based on those symptoms alone, a holistic nurse will attempt to help improve the entirety of the patient’s wellness. Put another way, rather than healing a patient outright, holistic nurses help them heal themselves while at the same time providing treatment for their condition.
With that said, a holistic nurse will still often find themselves carrying out tasks such as starting an IV, administering medications, documenting medical history, and other such classical tasks associated with nursing. In addition to this, though, a holistic nurse may perform tasks such as stress management, acupuncture, wellness coaching, massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, hypnosis, and other practices intended to improve a person’s overall well-being. In this way, the role of a holistic nurse is one that incorporates elements of both Western and Eastern medicine to treat both specific conditions and improve a patient’s overall quality of life.
One aspect of a holistic nurse’s job that differs from that of a traditional nurse is that holistic nurses are required to spend a great deal of time with a single patient. Holistic nurses will spend much of their time talking with their patients and getting to know them in order to provide better care and improve their quality of life.
Because holistic nurses are just as concerned with improving a patient’s quality of life as they are treating their condition, holistic nurses are in high demand in hospice care facilities where improving quality of life and overall well-being is more important than attempting to treat a condition that has already been deemed untreatable. In addition to this, another common career path for holistic nurses is to open their own practices catered towards people who wish to receive holistic treatments and procedures rather than standard procedures that most clinics offer. As medical centers begin to offer an increasingly wide range of services to their patients, the demand for holistic nurses as well as the range of facilities they can be found in will likely grow.
How much does a holistic nurse earn?
The salary of a holistic nurse will vary drastically depending on where they work, whether or not they own their own practice, and how experienced they are. On average, though, holistic nurses can expect to earn around $44,000, while holistic nurses who run a successful practice of their own can often expect to earn much more.
What types of skills are needed to become a holistic nurse?
There are a number of skills that you will need in order to have a successful career as a holistic nurse. These skills include:
Interpersonal Skills: Strong interpersonal skills are an important trait for nurses of all kinds to have, however, it is an especially important trait for holistic nurses since their practice involves spending a lot of time talking with their patients.
Well Organized: Holistic nurses have a wide range of responsibilities. Therefore, it is highly important that they are well-organized and multi-faceted when it comes to approaching their many tasks.
Independent: Depending on where they are working, a holistic nurse may find themselves entirely in charge of a patient’s care. This is especially true for holistic nurses who choose to open their own practice. Being independent and self-motivated are important qualities for a holistic nurse to have.
Listening Skills: A holistic nurse must base many of their decisions on what their patient is telling them, so effective listening skills are important.
Creativity: Holistic nurses are expected to approach patient care in an outside-the-box manner. While holistic nurses will certainly have plenty of resources to draw from, it is still important for them to exhibit some degree of creativity and ingenuity when it comes to deciding how to best care for their patients.
The internship requirements for a holistic nurse will vary depending on where they go to school and whether they choose to pursue an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). For all of these educational paths, a certain number of clinical hours must be completed. In addition to this, most nurses must work for at least a year as a holistic nurse before they can be certified as one, so any internships that allow you to work specifically within the role of a holistic nurse will be helpful.
In order to become a holistic nurse, you must first reach the educational requirements needed to practice nursing. Unlike some careers, though, higher education beyond a standard nursing program is not necessarily required to become a holistic nurse, some may find this higher education to be incredibly useful in advancing their career.
Typically, someone wishing to become a holistic nurse will enroll in a 4-year BSN program. During this program, they will study chemistry, anatomy, biology, behavioral science, nutrition, statistics, and more.
After earning your BSN, the next step to becoming a holistic nurse is to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam. Passing this exam is required in order to receive licensing and practice as a Registered Nurse. Having passed the NCLEX-RN, you may now begin working as a nurse and attaining the experience necessary to earn Board Certification (HN-BC) from the American Holistic Nurse Certification Corporation (AHNCC).
In order to be certified as a holistic nurse from the AHNCC, most nurses must be able to demonstrate at least a year’s experience as well as continued education specific to holistic nursing. A number of educational programs exist that are specific to holistic nursing, so finding the means to continue your education as a holistic nurse after completing a standard nursing program should not be a challenge.