What is a Holistic Nurse?

Holistic nursing expands upon registered nursing by focusing on providing patients with a full spectrum of health care.

These specialists implement nursing practice and medical applications to improve patient care further.

Holistic nurses focus on an individual’s mind, body, emotions, and spirit.

It enables them to provide a holistic approach to healthcare and the totality of full-on patient care.

Holistic nurses provide the same care and treatment as standard registered nurses.

However, they also implement alternative medicine methodology in their healthcare practice.

What Do Holistic Nurses Do?

To treat their patients, holistic nurses utilize nature, individual beliefs, spirituality, and alternative medicine practices.

They consider their patient’s personal, religious, and spiritual beliefs essential to their nursing experience.

As a result, these nurses implement holistic care methodologies as a complementary component of the patient’s emotional and spiritual health.

Holistic nurses treat individuals with different physical, emotional, and psychological needs.

They use holistic therapy and medical interventions to bring the patient back to total health while fully respecting their individual beliefs and needs.

Holistic nursing requires nurses to become self-aware of their limiting opinions, motives, training, and treatments.

It forces them to become deeply connected with spirituality and mental health to improve their ability to treat and care for the “whole” patient, not just their physical and mental ailments or symptoms.

Holistic nursing may implement alternative medicine practices to treat their patients/clients.

Holistic Nursing Techniques & Therapies:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Breathing exercises
  • Chinese medicine
  • Dietary coaching
  • Heat therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage therapy
  • Wellness Coaching

The following section explores some popular holistic nursing techniques and therapies implemented into nursing practice.


Acupuncture stimulates specific body parts, often by puncturing the skin with needles.

This therapy manually stimulates specific acupuncture points to release stress and tension.

Acupuncture therapy may also use electrical stimulation to correct imbalances in the body’s energy qi.


Aromatherapy focuses on improving one’s mental and emotional state using plants and essential oils.

These chemicals create pleasant aromas that increase the patient’s energy and relaxation through a combination of uplifting scents.

Chinese Medicine

Chinese medicine focuses on traditional medical techniques developed in China over 5000 years ago.

These medical practices include massage therapy, diet, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and traditional exercises.

Chinese medicine may effectively treat various physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ailments.

Heat Therapy

Heat therapy focuses on reducing pain and relaxing the muscles.

It uses a heated catalyst such as a heat pack or hot water to loosen tight muscles and reduce physical pain.


Hypnosis focuses on putting patients into a state of heightened relaxation and focus.

This therapy aims to increase patients’ focus and concentration.

As a result, it helps them overcome their mental afflictions and lead healthier, more productive lives.

This technique helps individuals quit smoking, eliminate fear, or become more productive.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy focuses on muscle relaxation and care.

In this case, therapists pull, push, rub, and apply deep pressure to the body’s various muscles and joints.

This treatment helps improve blood flow, increase vitality and flexibility, and relax muscles.

Mental Health Therapy

Mental health therapy focuses on various cognitive and psychological healthcare practices.

It improves an individual’s mental and emotional state through therapy, mental/emotional management techniques, and group-oriented social activities.

Nevertheless, mental health therapy may include new, evolving, and changing techniques.

This field continually grows as healthcare workers implement new technologies, procedures, and practices.

Patient Health Education

Patient health education focuses on informing and educating patients on various healthcare issues.

Understanding their conditions and treatment strategies enables patients to make more educated decisions regarding activities that affect their health.

When dealing with a physical/mental ailment, patient health education allows patients to make the most beneficial determinations to eliminate or manage their circumstances.

Stress Management

Stress management teaches patients how to cope with stressful events to manage their day more effectively.

It educates patients on anxiety control techniques and psychological strategies to reduce stress and maintain good mental health.

Those who work in holistic nursing may use various stress management techniques.

It enables them to provide patients with a well-rounded healthcare treatment plan to improve their physical ailments and emotional, psychological, and spiritual states.

Where Do Holistic Nurses Work?

Holistic nurses work in various settings providing alternative medicine and therapies to their clients/patients.

It includes academic settings, community health centers, hospitals, gyms, medical day spas, patient’s homes, private practices, and other locations.

Essentially, these specialists operate in health settings that provide alternative therapies for patients and clients.

It ensures patients/clients receive care from specialists who support their mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs.

  • Academic settings
  • Community health centers
  • Hospitals
  • Gyms
  • Medical day spas
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Patient’s homes
  • Private practices

How to Become a Holistic Nurse

Becoming a holistic nurse is relatively straightforward compared to other registered nursing occupations.

It requires completing college, acquiring an ADN/BSN degree, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, gaining bedside care experience, and obtaining certification.

The following section discusses the steps required to become a holistic nurse.

1. Obtain an ADN/BSN Degree

Becoming a holistic nurse starts with obtaining an ADN or BSN degree.

Aspiring holistic nurses need a diploma or GED to join college and complete the required nursing school prerequisites.

It takes approximately 1 – 2 years to complete the prerequisite courses.

They must also maintain their GPA average to gain acceptance into the nursing program.

Nursing students may complete a two-year ADN or four-year BSN program to obtain their degree.

The ADN degree enables registered nurses to obtain work experience and earn an income quickly.

However, this degree is restricted in terms of education, limiting options for registered nurses to advance in their careers.

The BSN program requires four years of education (three for accelerated programs) and provides more comprehensive instruction and training.

As a result, it’s ideal for most nurses who want to pursue career advancement opportunities and specialize in various domains.

2. Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

At the end of the nursing program, students must complete and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

This exam tests the student’s understanding and comprehension of the nursing program.

It ensures students receive sufficient training to provide adequate care as registered nurses.

Upon completing the NCLEX-RN exam, nursing students obtain their licensure and can begin working.

3. Gain Bedside Care Experience

Holistic nurses work directly with patients and clients, providing medical care, alternative medicine, and therapies.

As a result, obtaining bedside care experience is essential for understanding the basics of patient care and daily operation.

It also provides registered nurses valuable technical, communication, and team-oriented skills.

Most certification programs recommend nurses obtain at least two years of experience before becoming certified.

4. Obtain Holistic Nursing Certification

Aspiring holistic nurses may obtain certification to further their careers and improve their hiring opportunities.

Registered nurses can obtain certification through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

These certifications include the HN-BC, HNB-BC, AHN-BC, and APHN-BC.

Each certificate centers on specific aspects and levels of holistic nursing.

It enables registered nurses to demonstrate their competencies in this profession to employers hiring holistic nurses.

With that said, not all employers require certification to obtain certain positions.

As a result, you’ll want to determine the employer’s requirements before taking the exam.

Continuing Education

Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving due to new technologies, data, procedures, and systems.

As a result, registered nurses must receive continuing education to understand and implement the latest healthcare practices.

It’s beneficial for holistic nurses to gear their continuing education towards instruction related to their field.

For instance, they may receive training in acupuncture, hydrotherapy, dietary coaching, or massage therapy.

Obtaining additional certifications geared towards their profession is also vital for advancing their skills and capabilities.