How to transition into holistic nursing

  1. Hi,

    I have been a med/surgical nurse for 1.5 years. At this point in my career, I am already burnt out. I can barely begin to explain how this job as decreased my quality of life since I started. I am a strong believer that in order to successfully take care of someone, you must take care of yourself first. This is why I am looking for change of pace in my career.

    I have always been very interested in alternative/holistic medicine. When I have time, I use Yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation therapy as my own personal wellness regimen. I am also interested in nutrition, touch therapy, or any other sort of mind-body medicine. Honestly, IT ALL intrigues me. I am interested in learning more about as many of these topics as I can, for my own personal use of course, but also I would like to incorporate these things into my career. But I keep hitting a roadblock when trying to figure out how.

    I live in Louisiana. There are absolutely no resources here for alternative medicine. Holistic/natural/Alternative (Whatever you choose to call it) centers are provided little to none, and there are most definitely no education resources for these topics here. Not only that, It is rare that I find a healthcare professional that is like-minded. Many healthcare professionals think holistic/alternative medicine is taboo here... I am beginning to realize that if I want to pursue a career that I am passionate about, I may have to pick up my life and move to a different state.

    Because this type of healthcare is not very common, figuring out which path to take can be very confusing. There are SO many different "programs" out there that I am not sure are accountable. Plus, they are expensive and OUT OF STATE. I could really use a good mentor. Advice from anyone who chose this route of nursing care would be a tremendous help.

    What type of holistic nursing do you do? Where do you work? What state do you live in? What kind of resources did you use?

    Are there any education programs that incorporate all of these alternative therapies mentioned above in a well rounded curriculum (that is a legitimate accredited school)?

    I recently became a member of AHNA, and it looks like the education they suggest is from Allegra. This is a 2000$ 5 day course that provides a certification in most of these topics. Is this credible?

    Is there a particular state that focuses on this type of care the most? california? I am thinking of applying for my licensure there and just making the move. Hopefully once I get there, finding resources will be much easier than it is here in lazy louisiana.

    Thanks for taking the time to read. I am so excited to hear from anyone willing to give advice. <3

    Terri Kaye
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   oceanblue52
    I think AHNA is a great resource to start. I am only a nursing student but I too am very interested in this type of work and have learned a lot from reading their publications and poking around their website. Perhaps you would benefit from attending a conference? Scripps is holding a holistic nursing conference in San Diego this April, and AHNA has a conference this June in Portland, OR. I plan to attend both to network and learn a bit more about the various specializations.

    I've also found it helpful to simply Google "Holistic Nurse," or "Integrative Health + Hospital" just to see what other nurses/hospitals are doing. It seems like many nurses take an entrepreneurial approach, but there do seem to be options in acute care/primary care clinics as well. I have considered hospice or home health care once I graduate, but the ability to apply alternative medicine in these sectors really seems contingent on the demand. Here in Colorado there seems to be an appreciation for alternative medicine, but the job market is a little iffy still. Again it's hard for me to offer advice as I'm still a student (second career), but this is what I've picked up from my research thus far. Please feel free to PM/email me if you'd like to chat more
  4. by   ocWin
    I have been a Certified Massage Therapist here in Virginia for 14 years. I am just finishing up my prerequisites to apply to the Clinical Nurse Leadership program at UVa in October. I love my work but get a bit frustrated with its constraints regarding working closely with healthcare professionals like doctors/nurses/hospitals. By becoming an RN I hope to better bridge the gap between my holistic side and my clinical side. From what I heard at lectures at the AMTA conference in Portland, Oregon a couple of years ago the Western states are where most of the complementary medicine is taking place. For example, in Washington State you can be a licensed massage therapist and be hired in a hospital. They have a much more Integrative approach. Good luck and let us know if you make a move!
  5. by   Holisticlifern
    Hi I am very happy to come across your post. I have been a nurse for 7 years and all of my career I've been working In the recovery room at a large teaching hospital. I've always been intrigued by holistic health and felt like I found my "place" when I discovered AHNA. Before joining I felt like I was all alone and that there was no way to incorporate holistic nursing into my current role. To make a long story short through reading AHNA publications, investigating their sponsored programs, and reaching out to other holistic nurses wherever I could find them, I decided to take a healing touch class last month. I also have been studying yoga for about 3 years and my coworkers have asked me to start teaching them poses, so each morning when we have time we do a few poses and breathing exercises I also recently took a per diem home health job as I am slowly trying to transition out of the hospital.

    my advice to you would to research! Even if there aren't classes near you look up other nurses who are doing things you are interested in and learn from them. Holistic nursing starts with the nurse and is all about putting the patient in the best position for healing and tons of self care. I don't think you need to move to start a holistic nursing career, you may be the resource Louisiana needs

    i want to write so much more to tell you about my journey but my 4 year old is requiring my attention right now. If you ever want to chat or have questions feel free to email me by the way I live in Delaware. Take care
  6. by   DestinedRN09
    Hi TerryKaye,

    I am a nurse of 4 years in New Orleans. I worked for 2 years at a big hospital here then just completed 2 years of travel nursing. Now back in New Orleans, I plan on doing home health to transition into public health and holistic nursing. Its definitely an uphill battle here in Louisiana, but the climate is changing. Another poster said maybe you are that change. I am dabbling in the idea of certifications and possibly attended Tulane to get my masters in public health.Overall, the change begins within, there's a lot of online resources that can help you be a more effective med surg nurse and begin where you are currently to inspire change. Feel free to inbox me! Good luck to you!
  7. by   holisticpedsRN
    Hi everyone! I feel that holistic nursing is really at the forefront of a much larger movement in the preventative health and wellness fields & I'm excited to be a part of it. In the hospital environment, I bring aspects of holistic nursing to my practice regularly. I do think we have a long way to go before being a "holistic nurse" is really fully recognized (and respected) for the specialty that it is, and many holistic nurses are working within an entrepreneurial/independent contractor sphere as wellness coaches or getting additional certifications in things like massage therapy & acupuncture. It's very challenging to balance the clinical side of nursing with the complementary mind/body/spirit therapies that we appreciate so much. I'm just glad there are others out there who love this stuff like I do & the AHNA is a wonderful resource. I really felt like I'd found my tribe when I joined that organization! Good luck in your career!!

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