How to Become a Holistic Nurse

Updated on January 26, 2024

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career path that allows you to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. If you’re drawn to taking a whole-person approach to caring for patients that goes beyond just treating symptoms, becoming a holistic nurse may be right for you. Holistic nurses focus on nurturing the mind, body and spirit of those in their care. Additionally, they promote health, prevent illness and help patients improve their quality of life. If this resonates with you, read on to learn more about holistic nursing programs, necessary certifications and skills, potential work settings, salary prospects and more to determine if this specialty is a good fit to align with your passions.

Understanding Holistic Nursing

Holistic nursing focuses on caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The goal of holistic nurses is to promote health, healing, and wellness rather than just treat specific diseases or conditions. Some key principles of holistic nursing include:

Holistic nurses integrate these principles into providing care, facilitating healing, and promoting the health of their patients. To learn more about the philosophy and role of holistic nurses check out the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

Educational Requirements and Pathways

To become a holistic nurse, you must first complete either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Many nurses choose to earn a BSN, as some employers prefer candidates with a 4-year degree. After completing an ADN or BSN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your nursing license.

Once licensed, nurses can pursue optional holistic nurse certification through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation. This involves meeting defined holistic practice and educational requirements, in addition to passing a certification exam. Some nurses also choose to earn a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in related fields like integrative health or complementary therapies.

Specialized Training and Certification requirements

To become a holistic nurse, specialized training and certification is typically required. Many nurses pursue additional education through holistic nursing certification programs offered by organizations like the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). These programs provide in-depth training in areas like aromatherapy, reflexology, healing touch therapies, meditation, nutrition, and stress management techniques.

The AHNCC offers several levels of board certification for holistic nurses, including:

Each certification requires taking an examination to demonstrate knowledge and competency in the core values and scope of holistic nursing practice. Maintaining certification also involves meeting continuing education requirements through AHNCC-approved programs.

Licensing and Certification

To practice as a registered nurse in the United States, you must have an active RN license. Each state has its own nursing board that handles licensing. To qualify for licensure, you must graduate from an accredited nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). You can check the requirements for licensure in your state through the Board of Nursing.

While a standard RN license is enough to practice general holistic nursing, you may choose to pursue additional certification through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Some of the certifications they offer include:

Getting certified demonstrates your commitment to holistic nursing and knowledge of complementary and integrative therapies. It can give you a competitive edge in finding jobs. You can learn more about AHNCC’s certification options here.

Skills and Competencies

To become a skilled holistic nurse, you need to develop key competencies in integrative health and wellness approaches. Some important skills and abilities include:

Developing skills in evidence-based complementary treatments, patient advocacy, and therapeutic relationship building are also important for any nurse pursuing a holistic approach. Continuing education and training can help build competency in holistic nursing over time.

Career Opportunities and Employment Settings

Holistic nurses have a wide range of career opportunities across diverse healthcare settings. As holistic care becomes more mainstream, demand for these nurses will likely increase. Some top employment settings and opportunities include:

With their diverse medical knowledge and focus on caring for the whole person – mind, body and spirit – holistic nurses can craft rewarding careers across a variety of settings.

Salary Expectations for Holistic Nurses

Holistic nurses can expect competitive salaries and good job growth in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for registered nurses in 2020 was $75,330 per year ($36.22 per hour). Additionally, the BLS projects employment for registered nurses to grow by 9% from 2020-2030, faster than the average across all occupations.

Salaries for holistic nurses can vary based on:

According to PayScale, holistic nurses earn an average base salary of $62,875 per year, with a reported range of $48,000 – $103,000 annually. Years of experience can significantly impact earnings. Here is a table showing the average holistic nurse salary by years of experience:

Years of ExperienceAverage Base Salary
0-5 years$55,000
5-10 years$65,000
10-20 years$75,000
20+ years$85,000

The top-paying industries for holistic nursing are state, local, and private hospitals, according to the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Additionally, large healthcare systems and integrative medicine centers often offer the most competitive salaries.

Overall, holistic nurses can expect strong salary prospects in line with the broader nursing profession. As integrative therapies and patient-centered care models continue growing in popularity, demand and wages for holistic nurses are likely to rise.

Continued Professional Development

As a holistic nurse, it is important to continually develop your knowledge and skills to provide the best care for your patients. Here are some tips for continued professional development:

Making a commitment to continued learning and growth will help you provide the most innovative, comprehensive care as a holistic nurse.

Challenges and Rewards

Becoming a holistic nurse can be very rewarding, but also comes with some challenges. Some of the biggest rewards include:

However, holistic nursing also presents some unique demands, such as:

With passion for whole-person care and willingness to take on new challenges, holistic nurses can find deep purpose and meaning in their work. Continuing education and training is key to excelling as a holistic nurse. Resources like the American Holistic Nurses Association provide support and community.

Conclusion

Becoming a holistic nurse requires dedication, compassion, and specialized training, but it can be an incredibly rewarding career path. In conclusion, if you want to pursue holistic nursing, some key steps are:

With passion for whole-person care, patience, and a commitment to education, you can become a holistic nurse and make a meaningful difference in your patients’ lives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is holistic nursing?

Holistic nursing focuses on caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The goal of holistic nurses is to promote health, healing, and wellness rather than just treat specific diseases or conditions.

What are the educational requirements to become a holistic nurse?

To become a holistic nurse, you must first complete either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). After completing an ADN or BSN program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your nursing license. Once licensed, nurses can pursue optional holistic nurse certification.

What are the specialized training and certification requirements?

Many nurses pursue additional education through holistic nursing certification programs offered by organizations like the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). These programs provide in-depth training in areas like aromatherapy, reflexology, healing touch therapies, meditation, nutrition, and stress management techniques.

What skills are important for a holistic nurse?

Some important skills and abilities include compassion and active listening, critical thinking, cultural competence, and communication and education.

Where can holistic nurses work?

Holistic nurses have a wide range of career opportunities across diverse healthcare settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, hospice and palliative care, private practices, and corporate wellness programs.

What is the salary expectation for a holistic nurse?

According to PayScale, holistic nurses earn an average base salary of $62,875 per year, with a reported range of $48,000 – $103,000 annually. The top-paying industries for holistic nursing are state, local, and private hospitals.

What are some challenges that holistic nurses face?

Holistic nursing presents some unique demands, such as needing extensive knowledge of holistic therapies and integrative care models beyond standard nursing training, facing skepticism from medical colleagues or administrative resistance in some conventional healthcare settings, and handling ambiguous or complex patient issues that involve emotional, sociocultural, and spiritual dimensions.

What are the rewards of being a holistic nurse?

Some of the biggest rewards include getting to take a whole-person approach to care, having more freedom to incorporate complementary therapies into patient care, developing close, meaningful relationships with patients, and exploring the link between mind, body and spirit in health and healing.

How can a holistic nurse continue their professional development?

Attending conferences and workshops, reading industry publications, considering getting an advanced certification, and mentoring aspiring holistic nurses are some ways for continued professional development.

What resources are available for those interested in becoming a holistic nurse?

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), Nurse.org, and The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) offer training programs, conferences, publications, online education courses, and networking opportunities to help nurses advance their holistic nursing skills.

Additional Resources

If you want to further explore becoming a holistic nurse, there are many additional resources available. Here are some top recommendations:

Exploring these organizations and publications will give aspiring holistic nurses a wealth of knowledge to prepare for a career in this rewarding field. Reach out to working holistic nurses as mentors as well. By taking advantage of these additional resources, you’ll be on your way to success as a holistic nurse.