... and use it to guide you, your family & your patients to better health & well-being.
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Become a Calm & Confident Holistic Nurse
Holistic nurses are licensed nurses who use nursing knowledge, theories, expertise, and intuition to recognize and care for the totality of the human being within the scope and standards of their state and the Holistic Nursing specialty.
Holistic nurses nurture wholeness, peace, and healing by valuing each person's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental strengths and challenges and honoring each person’s values, health beliefs, and health experience. The condition of the whole person is taken into account during the nurse's assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation of the results.
Holistic nurses use holistic principles and modalities in their daily life and in clinical practice to remove the barriers to the healing process and create a space within and around themselves that allow them to be instruments of healing as they share their authenticity, caring presence, and nursing skills to facilitate the birth, growth, recovery or end-of-life transition with all people who need their care. Holistic nurses work in all healthcare settings including hospitals, universities, and private practices.
They bring a holistic, complementary, and integrative focus to their work, practice what they preach, and understand that failure to care for themselves reduces their ability to care for others. Holistic nurses help individuals and groups access their greatest healing potential across mainstream and complementary systems.
Many holistic nurses specialize in one or more complementary, alternative, or integrative healing modalities and maintain qualifications to practice these modalities in their state in conjunction with practicing holistic nursing.
Holistic Nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” (American Holistic Nurses’ Association, 1998). Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be the founder of Holistic Nursing, taught nurses to focus on the principles of holism: unity, wellness, and the interrelationship of human beings and their environment.
Holistic Nursing is not merely something we do. It is also an attitude, a philosophy, and a way of being that require nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their lives. This often leads the nurse to greater awareness of the interconnectedness of self, others, nature, spirit, and relationship with the global community.
For more information, see Holistic Nursing: A Way of Being, a Way of Living, a Way of Practice, an article by Lucia Thornton RN, MSN, AHN-BC.
In the 1970s, there was an unprecedented shortage of nurses. Working conditions meant long hours and minimal pay. Nurses were leaving hospital nursing to move into areas where they felt appreciated and could give depth of care they knew needed to be given. Charlie McGuire, the AHNA Founder, observed a lack of caring, compassion, support, and respect among nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers. Healthcare administrators were focusing mostly on bottom-line profits rather than the quality of patient care or concern for the nursing staff, resulting in a sick healthcare system with sick healthcare providers.
In June 1980, Charlie McGuire had dinner with Dr. C. Norman Shealy, founder of the American Holistic Medical Association, and his wife Mary Charlotte Shealy, a nurse. Their conversation on health care and healing culminated in a simple statement by Norman, "I've been hoping that someone would start an organization like the AHMA for nurses." After only the briefest pause, Charlie McGuire was surprised to hear herself say, "I will!"
The founding meeting of the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) was held on January 17, 1981, in Houston, Texas, and brought together 33 nurses from eight (8) states.
The founding nurses shared their stories of working in a healthcare system that did not value or respect them. Many expressed their hopes and visions of a nursing profession and healthcare system that nurtured the nurturers and focused on "wellness" rather than "illness". The American Holistic Nurses Association continues to pursue this vision.
In 2006, the American Nurses Association recognized holistic nursing as an official nursing specialty with its own defined scope and standards of practice.
Today, the American Holistic Nurses Association continues to emphasize the nurturing and valuing of self and client. As the definitive voice for holistic nursing, AHNA leads the way in holistic and integrative health care practice, research, and education, and serves more than 5,500 members.
Accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), AHNA approves over 150 CNE activities, publishes research through the Journal of Holistic Nursing, holds an annual AHNA conference, and offers a "Foundations of Holistic Nursing" CE course.
Holistic Nursing Skills Help Nurses...
Create safer, kinder work and workplaces
Develop healthier relationships at work and at home
Use communication that honors everyone's needs equitably
Protect our natural environment and live in sustainable harmony with it
Practice with the full power of their professional license
...and use it to guide you, your family & your patients.
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