What is Holistic Nursing?

What is Holistic Nursing?

Holistic nursing is the thread that weaves through every discipline of nursing.  The American Holistic Nurses Association defines Holistic Nursing as “ all nursing that has healing the whole person as its goal”.  The roots of holistic nursing began with Florence Nightingale and her philosophy on unity, wellness, and the inter-relationship of human beings, events, and environment.  Holistic nursing is based on empirical scientific knowledge and has a strong theoretical foundation. Holistic nurses demonstrate traits such as having a caring intention, healing presence, and deep therapeutic communication.  Holistic nursing takes into account the individuality of the person and focuses on treating the whole person mind, body, and spirit.  According to the Scope and Standards of Holistic Nursing, “holism involves the biological, psychological, social and spiritual dimension of the person”.  

Holistic nursing is patient-centered, relationship-centered, and uses all available knowledge for enhancing the patient’s experience.  Holistic nurses create therapeutic partnerships with individuals, families, and communities.  Holistic nurses integrate complementary therapies into their clinical practice to treat the whole person.  These modalities include massage therapy, guided imagery, energy modalities, biofeedback, breath work, and meditation.  Holistic nursing requires the nurse to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection into their lives.

Holistic nursing focuses on the optimal wellness of individuals by health promotion, managing chronic diseases, and reducing health risks.  Holistic nurses are proactive, honoring the individual’s life path and recognizing the opportunity for growth toward a healthier lifestyle.  The American Nurses Association published scope and standards of care for Holistic Nursing and Nurse Coaching. 

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