Our online RN-BSN degree completion program is our newest at Joyce, but it’s founded on decades of thoughtful research and practice in the field of nursing. We built the curriculum around the recommendations in The Future of Nursing Report and the standards from the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). We love holistic nursing education, because we agree that nurses have to care for the whole patient: Not just their body, but their mind, spirit, emotion, and environment too. There are many benefits of learning holistic nursing, and we’ve assembled eight of them.
In nursing it’s easy to become task- or goal-oriented. You have an assignment of patients, all with individual health needs, and a limited amount of time to tend to and care for them. It makes sense to move through the motions quickly, but this can make you forget about the person in the bed, recovering or awaiting surgery or hurting or scared. Most nurses enter the practice to help people, and holistic nursing compels you to focus on each person as an individual, which benefits their care, and it makes your work more fulfilling.
Focusing on patients not as tasks but more holistically as people, obviously benefits them emotionally, especially if they’re worried or fearful. It also benefits them physically, since bodily health is intimately related to emotional, spiritual, and environmental health too. Many patients, like victims of car accidents, are being treated for obvious injuries that require stitches or surgery. Others, though, may enter the hospital for back pain or heart disease, ailments that can be due to environmental factors like their diet and lifestyle. Holistic nurses are aware of this interconnectedness, and so they’re better able to treat and care for patients physically, by attending to them emotionally, environmentally, and spiritually too.
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All nurses focus on their patients, but the best nurses are aware of themselves and their own needs and emotions as they care for others. Holistic nursing emphasizes the importance of self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection for nurses. Nursing is hard work. It can be emotionally draining, even devastating sometimes, especially for nurses who often experience loss. An emphasis on self-care keeps holistic nurses emotionally healthy, which makes them better at their job.
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That emphasis on self-awareness and reflection also benefits nursing as a career in general. Every nurse is at risk of burnout and compassion fatigue. If you just give and give and give at work, you’ll quickly feel drained, maybe even bitter. By emphasizing nurses and keeping them emotionally, spiritually, and mentally health, holistic nursing reduces that risk of burnout, which benefits the nursing practice as a whole.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of the AHNA, holistic nursing became a recognized nursing specialty by the American Nursing Association in 2006. The AHNA clearly demonstrated that holistic nursing had a defined scope and unique standards of practice, as unique and specialized as any other area of nursing. This recognition has been a huge benefit in supporting holistic nurses by giving their practice more clarity, and by laying a foundation for them and the future of holistic nursing.
Holistic nursing is a specialty, but its philosophy applies to any practice in any hospital wing in any part of the world. Holistic nurses can be found in hospitals, private practice, hospice, and education, helping patients and families of all ages to live better, holistically. Whatever area of nursing you want to pursue, a holistic nursing education will benefit you and everyone you work with or treat.
Florence Nightingale is often said to be the Mother of Modern Nursing. She’s also believed to be the founder of holistic nursing. According to the AHNA, she “believed in care that focused on unity, wellness, and the interrelationship of human beings and their environment.” Modern holistic nursing is based on Nightingale’s philosophical approach, and over the years it has benefited from new theories, knowledge, and experience. Joyce’s holistic nursing education draws on that large body of knowledge to train nurses to better treat and care for their patients.
Though holistic nursing has only been recognized as a specialty for nine years, it’s already become an integral part of the healthcare system—and many healthcare leaders look to holistic nurses as guides to the future. More and more fields of medicine are understanding the importance of a holistic philosophy to treat patients and communities. Nurses trained in a holistic education will very likely be better prepared for the changes already occurring in healthcare—in addition to all of the other benefits that holistic nursing offers.
Related Resource: Why Some Hospitals Already Require a BSN Degree
At Joyce, we’re proud of our BSN curriculum, particularly how it integrates holistic philosophy. If you’ve been on the fence about earning your baccalaureate in nursing and want to become a better nurse, read about our online BSN degree program here, and please reach out with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.