Tips for Entering the Field of Holistic Nursing

By: Anderson Ryan

Holistic nursing is one of the newer nursing specialties around today. Its growing popularity has caused more and more new nurses to choose it as a specialty. Holistic nursing incorporates the skill and knowledge of traditional nursing with the training, methodologies, and ideologies to treat and heal the mind, body, and spirit. Like any career path, holistic nursing has its benefits and its challenges. If you are thinking about choosing holistic nursing as a specialty, there are a few things you may want to consider.

The first thing you may want to do is to explore different religious and spiritual beliefs. As a holistic nurse you will be responsible for mending your patientsí spirits as well as their minds and bodies. Not all of your patients will have the same spiritual and religious beliefs as you. You might want to do a tiny bit of research on different religions, especially those that are most common in your particular field of medicine. Try to stay abreast of any issues that might affect the way a patient chooses their medical treatment with respect to beliefs.

Prior to entering the field, you should talk to a current holistic nurse, or try to find a real life mentor. Holistic nursing is a specialty that can be easily romanticized. It is important that you have a realistic idea of the day to day challenges that a holistic nurse may face. A holistic nurse will be the best source of what the position may entail. This is not the most popular step, although it will prevent you from undertaking in a profession that you are not ideally suited for.

Feel it in your heart

This may not be the type of tip that you would expect, but it is vital to your happiness as a holistic nurse. You will be working with patients with severe injuries, burns, terminal illnesses, and other more serious conditions. There are days in the profession of holistic nursing that will be emotionally draining. You will have patients that pass away, some will have broken spirits; and there will be families that donít get the miracle that they were praying for. Staying strong for those that you care for will demand much more than many people are willing or able to give on a daily basis. However, this can be argued of all nursing specialties. Holistic nurses usually have cultivated a one on one relationship with patients and their families over the course of a few months or even years that is not afforded to other nursing specialties.

Know when to recharge your battery

This is important for all nurses. Again, this job can be emotionally draining, as well as a physically demanding position. It is very easy for passion to prevent you from taking much needed vacation time. In order to be your best for you patients, you need to know when to take care of yourself. Take some time each day and each week that is just for you.

Try popular techniques yourself

The alternative medicines that are combined with traditional treatments are often perceived as weird or pointless to many, both inside and out of the medical community. In order to stand by these techniques it is important that you are able to easily speak on the benefits and positive effects of holistic medicine. You might want to try the aromatherapy, journaling, massage therapy, yoga, music therapy, or other treatments that you may use in your professional life. See for yourself if it lifts your spirit, mood, or disposition. This type of first hand experience will help you explain the positive uses to patients and their families.

Get the appropriate certifications

Although this is a tip, for many holistic nurses it is a requirement. Having your Holistic Nursing Certification or HNC provides you the scientific and/or psychological reasoning behind the alternative techniques that you will need to incorporate. You will also gain the knowledge of how to spot and treat depression and talk to and work with patients with severe injuries and terminal illnesses. You will also learn how to use alternative techniques effectively.

Join the American Holistic Nurses Association or AHNA

Becoming a member of the holistic nurses trade association will give you a much needed support group. Trade associations like this one help you stay on top of industry changes and trends, provide additional trainings through conferences, and can allow you to come together with others who will understand the challenges that you face.

Being a holistic nurse will give you a feeling of job satisfaction that many others only dream of obtaining. However, the challenges that come with it make holistic nursing a career path for those who are strong in spirit. Though nothing will make this choice easy, considering these tips will give you a clearer picture of what lies ahead.

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Ryan Anderson is a freelance writer who writes about the nursing profession, often writing about specific items used in nursing such as nursing uniforms.

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