What does a Holistic Nurse do?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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A holistic nurse practices a special type of nursing that cares for the patient’s entire being instead of just the part of his body that is ill or injured. A nurse who opts for holistic nursing cares for her patient’s mind, body, and spirit. The idea of holistic nursing is that a patient’s unique health beliefs, culture, and even environment all play an important role in his ability to heal.

An individual who chooses to become a holistic nurse usually receives the same level of education and training a regular nurse does. This typically involves the earning of either a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or diploma from a jurisdiction-approved nursing program. After graduating, an aspiring holistic nurse goes on to take the licensing or certification exams that are required in his particular jurisdiction. He then takes his certification one step further by earning certification in holistic nursing as well.

In order to heal the whole person, a holistic nurse must spend time gaining knowledge of how a person's mind, body, and spirit are interconnected. He must also learn how emotions, environment, and culture influence a patient’s well-being. He has to learn to view each patient as a unique person with different thoughts and feelings rather than as a mere collection of limbs and organs. A holistic nurse also spends time considering why his patient feels and thinks as he does. He even attempts to ascertain how the patient's experiences and thoughts are connected.


Once a holistic nurse feels he has gained a good understanding of his patient, he uses the knowledge he’s gained to provide his patients with individualized treatment. At the same time, however, he must also provide care that is in keeping with the basic standards of medicine. Sometimes doing both can be challenging and require the nurse to work to keep holistic methods well balanced with traditional medicine.

When providing care, a holistic nurse is likely to use some alternative medical treatments. For example, a person in this field may use herbs in caring for his patients. Since he is also trained in the use of traditional medicine, he does not discard or turn his back on more generally accepted medical practices. Instead, he uses alternative care principles to add to what he can do for each patient. The combination of traditional and alternative methods is said to better care for a patient’s body and overall well-being.


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Post 2

Wouldn't a holistic nurse have to be very knowledgeable about medicines and herbs and well versed about how they interact?

I know that many natural herbs have medicinal properties and are used in holistic treatments. But if someone is already using some medication, herbs might counteract with the medication or result in some side effects. How can the holistic nurse keep all these potential risks in check?

And if a life threatening side effect results from the combination of regular medical practices and holistic practices, how is the nurse held accountable?

Personally, I would be scared to take on such responsibility and hesitant to prescribe any herbal remedies or holistic medications if I were a holistic nurse.

Post 1

I think that holistic nurses don't simply help treat their patients but also teach them lifestyle practices that will help them maintain their health even after treatment.

After I was treated by a holistic nurse, I continued the meditation and exercise methods that she taught me. I was suffering from anxiety and a eating disorder. It was because I was too stressed and worried about everything. My nurse didn't just help me feel better in the shorter term, she also taught me how I can continue to manage the stress in a way that won't harm my health.

Now I watch out for the signs of anxiety and stress. I do meditation and breathing, as well as regular exercise before it gets worse. Being conscious about what is happening to my body and how my feelings trigger illness has really changed my life. I'm grateful to the holistic nurse at my hospice that helped me do this.

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