The healthcare industry has undergone significant changes due to the demands and impacts of COVID-19, the nursing shortage, and the increasing need for health services. In response to these challenges, holistic nursing has emerged as a suitable approach that emphasizes prevention over treatment. Mary-mount University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing for Family Nurse Practitioner program, which teaches students the standards of holistic nursing practice to improve patients’ quality of life and health. So, what exactly is holistic nursing?
Definition of Holistic Nursing
In medicine, “holistic” refers to care that considers the patient as a whole, addressing not only the physical aspects of illness but also the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. The goal of holistic treatment is not just symptom alleviation but enhancing the patient’s overall quality of life.
Standards of Holistic Nursing Practice
Western medicine primarily focuses on pharmaceuticals, radiation therapy, and surgeries for treating diseases and injuries. Integrative medicine introduces additional therapies to complement conventional methods. Here are some examples of common holistic care techniques recommended by Registered Nurses:
– Stress management education
– Massage therapy
– Hypnosis, water therapy, and balneotherapy
– Eastern medicine treatment methods
– Health and fitness training
Five Principles of Holistic Nursing
In holistic medicine, patients are treated with utmost respect and dignity, and these principles summarize the values underlying integrative medicine according to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM):
– Prevention is better than cure.
– The effectiveness of integrating healing systems.
– Holistic medicine is characterized by relationship-based care.
– Every experience is an opportunity for teaching.
– Acknowledge the curative power of love.
The Duties of a Professional Holistic Nurse
A holistic nurse provides care consistent with the concepts of holistic nursing. They approach healthcare with compassion, addressing patients’ needs from a holistic perspective that considers the mind, body, and spirit in healing. Holistic nurses take various factors, such as lifestyle and diet, into account to impact patient health positively.
History of Holistic Nursing
Holistic healthcare has evolved alongside medical science, recognizing the importance of nurses’ access to information and their advocacy for patients. It has a brief background dating back to ancient medical practices that relied on plants, herbs, and spiritual explanations for diseases. The emergence of evidence-informed scientific medicine shifted the focus away from the emotional and psychological aspects of health treatment. However, Florence Nightingale, an influential nursing innovator and social reformer, revived holistic medicine in the 19th century. Today, integrative medicine is increasingly integrated into medical establishments.
Importance of Holistic Nursing
Holistic nursing is crucial because it can significantly improve patient care. Research suggests that relying solely on conventional medical approaches can put patients at risk, increase hospitalization, and escalate treatment costs. Holistic nursing addresses the mind-body-spirit connection, providing spiritual support to patients, promoting mental health, and reinforcing the importance of preventative care.
Benefits of Holistic Nursing
Adopting and implementing holistic nursing care benefits healthcare practitioners, patients, and healthcare systems. Holistic medicine prioritizes mental health normalization, respects the body’s innate healing capacity, and honors alternative healing practices and cultural norms. It encourages preventative care, reduces invasive surgeries, and acknowledges the impact of health on social and political aspects. Moreover, holistic nursing fosters patient-centered care, treating patients with respect and dignity.
Lessons Learned from Value-Based Nursing Education
Education plays a crucial role in promoting holistic approaches to health treatment. Advanced nursing degrees, such as Marymount University’s online Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner program, emphasize evidence-based care grounded in holistic principles. Students gain expertise in clinical technology, leadership, and compassionate patient support.
Holistic nursing is an essential aspect of comprehensive nursing programs, where nurses treat the whole patient rather than just symptoms. Holistic nurses are therapeutic partners with patients, families, and communities, using their education, experience, and creativity to provide compassionate care and promote overall well-being. Holistic nursing incorporates familiarity with nursing legislation, ethics, and standards, encouraging a review of nursing practice in different clinical settings.