Jen has been interested in holistic nursing practices since her days in nursing school. She’s dedicated countless hours to reading about integrative care, natural healing methods, and the philosophy behind holistic practices. Excited by the possibilities, she even joined the American Holistic Nurses Association, hoping to network with like-minded professionals and find opportunities in this specialized field.
Despite her enthusiasm and effort, Jen hasn’t been able to find a job as a holistic nurse, and her frustration grows. The traditional healthcare system where she currently works doesn’t seem to recognize or value the importance of holistic methods in patient care. She would dearly love to apply what she has learned about holistic nursing to caring for her patients, but the rigid job descriptions at her hospital don’t include these practices.
Jen’s situation is not unique. Some nurses feel boxed in by their titles and assume that they can’t use holistic nursing practices if their job title doesn’t include the word “holistic.” They feel constrained by the conventional medical model and are unsure how to integrate these valuable practices into their daily work.
However, the truth is that any nurse in any role can utilize holistic nursing practices. Whether in a hospital setting, private practice, or community health, nurses have the ability to incorporate mindfulness, self-care, empathy, and other holistic techniques into their care routines. These practices can enhance patient outcomes, foster a more compassionate connection, and nurture the nurse’s own well-being.
Jen’s story illustrates a broader challenge in the nursing field, where the potential of holistic care often remains untapped due to misconceptions and systemic barriers. But with determination, creativity, and a focus on patient-centered care, every nurse has the potential to embrace holistic practices, regardless of their job title or specific role within the healthcare system.
5 Simple, yet Powerful Holistic Nursing Practices for all Nurses
in Under 5 Minutes- Anywhere and at Any Time
- Mindfulness. As you are about to begin caring for a patient, take a moment to clear your mind and focus completely on that person.
- Self-care is how to plug into the source of your energy.
- Recharge yourself at work with aromatherapy to relieve anxiety, fear, and anger. You can keep a small vial of essential oil, perhaps lavender. Place a drop or two on your palm and rub your hand together. Hold your hands near your face, close your eyes and breathe.
- Are you kind to yourself? Self-compassion lowers stress and makes you a better nurse.
- Take time to breathe and stretch.
- Connect with your colleagues.
- Listen to your patient. You can do this while you are doing a task.
- Ask your patient curious questions. Hold the space while they tell their story. Listen deeply. Ask them about possible next steps. You don’t have to fix anything.
- Affirmations are intentional statements that can boost your self-confidence.
- “I choose to trust my knowledge and skills.” An affirmation can help relieve stress. “I am doing the best I can for your patient, given the resources available.”
- Access your intuitive intelligence– Intuition happens when bits of perhaps unrelated information get stitched together. It’s a legitimate form of knowledge connected to relationships and a holistic understanding.
- What does your heart/mind/body/soul want to tell you? Listen to it.
These practices aren’t confined to holistic nursing roles; they can be applied in any nursing position to enhance patient care and personal well-being. Explore more on how to manage stress and avoid overwhelm at work with holistic nursing tips.
For more holistic nursing strategies, check out our post, Holistic Nursing Practices for Managing Stress & Avoiding Overwhelm at Work.
Amy Kenefick Moore started her nursing career with Neonatal Intensive Care nursing and then became a Certified Nurse Midwife, practicing in Boston MA and Providence RI. She was a nurse practitioner in a large long-term care facility in western MA for nearly a decade before she joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. She also held a joint appointment at the UConn School of Medicine. She has a PhD in Nursing and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale’s Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care.
In addition to being a Certified Nurse Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner, she is certified as an Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse and a Health and Wellness Nurse Coach. She was in INCA cohort #18. Her nurse coaching training included a focus on the end of life.
Her nursing practice has been about quality of life throughout the lifespan. Both her long career in nursing and her personal life have taught her that it’s never too late to make things better than they would have been.
What can be made better and how that happens depends on the teamwork between the nurse and the client. A kind of magic happens as the possibilities unfold and the results emerge.
Amy has published research and stories about the human experience of health and illness. Her work in nursing theory development focuses on the nurse-client relationship and on practice models based on the concept of the sustaining presence of the nurse.
Sometimes the nurse’s client is a student and she has done research and theory work about the use of storytelling in that context. She believes that the nursing faculty role is an ideal situation in which to demonstrate the fine art of nursing practice.
Her coaching clients are often people who have had successful professional careers and are now faced with some kind of health-related situation. Sometimes the client is the person who has the condition and sometimes it’s their friend or family member. Sometimes clients are nurses who deal with health situations for a living.
Amy’s work is about helping people develop a practical understanding of their situation, identify personal goals and make changes in their lives. A priority is to stop the overwhelm and make it doable. Sometimes this even means figuring out the best thing that could happen and then going one step further. When that happens, it’s magical!