Making Holistic Nursing a Daily Practice

Making Holistic Nursing a Daily Practice

In many cases, physicians and nurses look at a sick patient and try to treat the symptoms of the disease and illness without paying attention to the overarching factors that result in optimal health. However, there is a movement in the health care industry that focuses on a nursing practice that has healing the whole person as the primary goal. This concept is called holistic healing. If you are considering a career in nursing, you can apply this concept to whatever specialized field you decide to enter, from palliative care to orthopedics.

What is holistic nursing?
Holistic nurses act as an instrument of care that facilitates the healing process. The main characteristic of this type of nurse is a dedication to honoring each individual's experience and knowledge of health. Holistic nurses use alternative modes of care along with modern clinical treatments to assist the patient in self-healing. These methods don't negatively affect traditional medical therapies. Rather, these alternative treatments serve to complement, broaden and even enrich nursing practices. If applied correctly, patients can achieve their greatest potential of healing.

What is involved in holistic nursing?
Nurses who practice holistic healing endeavor to integrate the values of self-care, responsibility, spirituality and reflection with the treatment of patients. These nurses often experience a greater sensitivity or awareness of the connections between the body, immediate surroundings and spirituality. As a nurse continues to practice holistic healing on a daily basis, the awareness grows into a deeper understanding of human behavior. Relationships between humans and their environments become clearer. Focusing on this type of awareness aids holistic nurses as they facilitate the healing process within their patients. In a way, holistic nursing is not an action, but an attitude toward living and a way of being.

Types of holistic practices and therapies
As stated previously, holistic nurses recognize the individual as a sum of many parts that can be affected both internally and externally. Many therapies used by holistic nurses are thousands of years old, while some have just recently been discovered.

Mind-body therapies - These types of therapies integrate the body and the mind.They include meditation exercises like mindfulness, visualization and deep breathing. Holistic nurses often implement yoga, tai chi and stress management techniques when applying mind-body therapies

Energy work - These practices include Reiki, acupuncture and magnet therapy

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit

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