Holistic Nursing Advice For A Pre-Nursing Student

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    For a few years now I've been interested in nutrition, specifically "traditional" or back-to-traditional. Being a procrastinator, I haven't gone very far.. although I did recently switch to raw milk! Anyway, I'm reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and it's got me thinking about my future in nursing. How can I, in good conscience, not tell patients everything I know to try to help them? I'm assuming this is frowned upon in the medical community. Further more, it seems a lot of people (at least my friends and family) are skeptical (as in unwilling to try) of organic, raw and fermented foods. If I "offend" a patient's sensibilities with my advice, can I get in trouble? If I don't feel I'm helping people to the best of my knowledge and abilities, I won't be satisfied in my work.
    Also, what can you do with holistic nursing, and what is the pay like? I'm in the Pittsburgh area and I've done a little research. It seems there's a mix of scam and honest practice when it comes to holistic/alternative/whatever, so I'm not sure what's what. I'm hoping to get advice from experienced nurses with holistic views or even students who share my views. Comments on any related subject are appreciated!
  2. 9 Comments so far...

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    Bump.
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    I'm also very interested in this area of nursing, have you had any luck identifying nursing programs with this specialty? In my googling, I came across this website - http://www.ahna.org/ - but I'm having a hard time understanding what the path is to become a holistic nurse. It seems like maybe you start with a regular RN, and then from there are able to take courses and training to work towards a specialty in holistic nursing, but I'm uncertain.

    What kind of programs are you looking into - accelerated BSN, normal BSN, MSN? I have a BA in history, and am hoping to start pre-requisite courses in January to enter an ABSN program in 2013.

    Hope we can get some information from someone that has answers to these questions!
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    I too have been interested for over a year or two in alternative health care. More interested in Medicinal Nutritional Therapy and Herbs. I have searched many programs most online. not too interested in that . There were only 4 campus programs, cant remember all the locations but one was in Washington, i think the other in Ohio. None of these places are close to me.
    I was given this advice once; just began to talk about what you know to people( as a nurse you can do this), friends, family, and patients. The more you talk about it the more you will research it, the more you will put yourself in the right places.
    Not sure that i took that advice very well.
    I'm looking for some guidance as well.
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    Holistic nursing is not something usually taught in schools as you are describing. If you have not chosen a career yet, I would suggest looking around at other options. Definitely do some shadowing. You may want to consider becoming an naturopathic doctor, chiropractic, etc... I understand those fields do not meet the description of a nurse, but right now there are very few options for holistic nurses. Unless you want to be a pioneer, and it will not be easy, I think you would have a challenging road ahead. The jobs that do exist are few and do not pay very well. I am sorry to be negative. I do hope others will respond and with a better outlook.
    Last edit by papayas on Aug 29, '11
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    If you want to find some good information about holistic nursing, go to the American Holistic Nurses Association on the web. There is a pathway to becoming a Certified Holistic Nurse. There are many positions today for nurses in this field..especially with the rise of hospice and palliative care. Traditional as well as alternative services are beneficial for these patients--aromatherapy,reflexology,meditation,etc are all modalities that are often included in their medical treatment. Yes..you may have to practice traditional nursing and talk with the physician involved with the patient regarding alternative therapies. You will find that here in Pittsburgh, many physicians are now including these services in their overall care plan for the patient. The progress in this field has been slow, but as a seasoned RN, I have seen an increase in holistic practices. I believe it's a good time for nurses to become holistic specialists.
    tlancio likes this.
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    I agree with Lyndamont, start with the American Holistic Nurses Ass. This is what I have done. They have a local chapter here in Delaware and I plan to go to their next meeting to network with Holistic Nurses and pick their brains to find out what there are doing, who they work for, etc. etc. I've been interested in Holistic Nursing for a long time now and I'm finally taking action. So my advice is to seek out nurses who are already doing what you want to do and talk with them to see how they got where they are. That's what I plan to do.
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    Like many others posting on this site, I'm an RN who is interested in getting into holistic nursing. I have my BSN and I've been a nurse for 5 years now in different settings such as: Neuro, Home Health, and Radiology. For those in nursing school right now or those getting in to the field of nursing, it may not be necessary to work in the "traditional" setting before pursuing a holistic type career, but I feel that the knowledge I've gained in the traditional setting is a wonderful base to go from.

    There is not one set path to become a Holistic Nurse, and it seems like the best way to do so is to forge your own path. The AHNA has a great website that gives a detailed explanation on what you need to do to take the certification test to become a Holistic Nurse. This requires a fee, registration, proof that you have been working in the last 5 years, and a few other questions about your personal experiences. I recently became a member of the AHNA (American Holistic Nurses Association) and they have great listings of courses offered that one can take to prepare you for the Holistic Nurse test. These courses vary in prices and locations where they are offered. I live in the Midwest and have found that many courses on Holistic Nursing are available online or on the East Coast.

    I think the best thing to do in the process of becoming a Holistic Nurse is to network with as many like minded individuals as possible, and make new contacts that could potentially help you in your future. I'm a little shy myself, and it's going to be a challenge putting myself out there, but that is what needs to be done! Good luck to everyone out there in the same boat as me!!! :redpinkhe

    Lastly, I think my biggest challenge is getting through this time period where I know all I want to do is work as a Holistic Nurse, but I don't have my certification yet. I have to continue working in the traditional field, which I am burnt out on, so I can make money to take the classes needed to become a Holistic RN!! I try to have positive thoughts every day. Does anyone have any advice on how to get through this time? I think in the next year or so I may move closer to the East Coast where there could be more potential jobs in this field. Anyone have any thoughts on this???
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    I think its wonderful to have a strong desire to intergrate RN with intergrative medicine.

    As a Energy healer, and polarity therapist, and pre-NP student, my advice is multitudious (not a real word, I know!) : Here are some of my gleanings over the years of research and consideration of this very interesting topic!

    1. Look at Naturopathic programs, like the one in Arizona that gives nurses advanced standing (like no science) in their programs, and actually get some solid theory in naturopathic principles and protocols.

    2. You can also do a program at Dr. Weil's center as well in Arizona -- I think its a residency.

    3. Find holistic MDs and network with them and find out what their needs are. Contact people like at Heel/BHI North America (Arizona?).

    4. Have realistic expectations. Just because someone practices holistically, doesn't mean the work environment, the pay, and everything else is going to be ideal.

    5. Focus on becoming your own practitioner and get education in advance nutrition and naturopathic modalities, and even acupuncture.

    I believe the requirement for the holistic nurses association is to actually get 1 or 2 certifications in holistic modalities.

    6. Target MDs that may be covertly integrative, or at least open to alternatives. The people I'd target would be associated with Lyme Disease, Chronic fatigue, Mold Illnesses (chronic neurotoxins), and utilize lists from companies on MDs signed specific medical labs and medical nutriceutical companies like Metagenics, Neuroscience, Great Smokies.

    7. Go to the conferences (Lyme, etc...) and research Klinghardt and some of the German approaches using EAV, etc...

    8. Recognize that most of the work is out of pocket and therefore you are essentially treating the affluent. However, there are some very inspiring stories about APRNs as primary care in underrepresented inner city locations, achieving strong evidence based positive health outcomes by implementing holistic approaches to hypokinetic diseases and such.

    9. Focus on your heart and realize there is no "right way", and also that people from other countries may be more open to your energy/ideals.

    10. Look at Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction - a tremendous amount of new research is showing incredible outcomes in treatment for things such as psoriasis, etc... Start with your own practice, and learn how to introduce it to your community, where-ever you are. There is no need to move unless you specifically want to train with Klinghardt in Washingon, or Rothfield in Arlington, Hoffman in NY.

    11. Also look at intergrative psychiatry. There is an incredible amount of research on the impact of nutrition and environmental toxins, lyme, etc... on the nervous system. The MIT website has some free open courseware that focuses on bioengineering and looking at ecology and health. MIT seems pretty holistic to me (to my surprise)!!!

    Hope my ideas help! Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss!
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    thanks for your reply drolmareiki!!


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