Holistic Nursing

Holistic nursing is a practice of nursing that focuses on healing the whole person. This practice recognizes that a person is not simply his or her illness. Holistic healing addresses the interconnectedness of the mind, body, spirit, social/cultural, emotions, relationships, context, and environment. All of these aspects combine to create the person, so in order to heal the person, the holistic nurse looks at all aspects and how they can affect the patient’s health.

The field combines nursing knowledge, theory, intuition, and experience as a guide for building a relationship with the patient to increase healing and promote health. Holistic nurses often integrate alternative medicine and practices into their nursing care. These practices address the patient’s physical needs, as well as their psychological and spiritual needs. Holistic nursing doesn’t try to question the validity of traditional medicine practices. Instead, it tries to complement and broaden them to better help the patient during his or her recovery.

Nurses use their own experiences as a foundation for their care, integrating the patient’s experiences, as well as social, cultural, and spiritual values, to treat the whole person rather than just the illness. Holistic also acknowledges that relationships are everywhere, and humans can affect other humans. This concept is included in the nurse’s care plan, using self-care, self-responsibility, and reflection to help the patient get healthy.

Because holistic nurses focus on the interconnectedness of the patient with his or her world, it often leads the nurse to have a deeper understanding of that interconnectedness, as well as the nurse’s interconnectedness with his or her own world. The nurse can then use that understanding and awareness to better care for the patient. Due to the nature of holistic nursing, it is often considered way more than a nursing practice. It affects every aspect of the nurse, even outside his or her job, and becomes a philosophy and lifestyle.

A liberal arts or alternative medicine background is very beneficial to holistic nursing. Both give a well-rounded foundation of education and experience, which allows the nurse to expand his or her mind, increase critical thinking skills, and grow on a personal level.