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.