Where are all of the holistic nurses?

  1. I would love for this holistic nursing forum to be more active! I am been so immersed in the holistic/integrative world for the last few years that it is odd to me when I read a lot of the posts in the general nursing forum. It reminds me of how grateful I am to have discovered alternative health.

    If you are a holistic nurse, what brought you to the field? What does your current practice look like?

    I became involved in holistic nursing and functional medicine almost 3 years ago. I was diagnosed with 3 autoimmune diseases and I was really struggling and very ill for a while. Then I discovered food as medicine and the transformation in my health was remarkable. I went back to school for additional certifications in holistic nutrition and herbalism and now I have a practice nutritional therapy and functional medicine practice.

    I'd love to connect with other like-minded nurses!
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  2. 77 Comments

  3. by   MurseCumberbatch2b
    Hello, out of curiosity what 3 autoimmune diseases were you diagnosed with and are you saying you've been cured of them?

    Thanks
  4. by   PaleoNurse
    I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, myasthenia gravis, and seronegative inflammatory arthritis. "Cure" is an interesting word because we can't make those kind of claims in conventional medicine. I wouldn't claim to have cured my autoimmune disease anyway, because that isn't accurate. "Managed" or "controlled" are better words. On my last colonoscopy, I have no evidence of inflammation or disease at all. I have had no progression of the MG and I have had significant improvement on my last EMG. Ocular symptoms have improved drastically. My joint pain is 95% gone. I take no pharmaceutical medications for any of these diseases.

    But if I were to become cross-contaminated in the kitchen, or not follow my diet, or not get enough rest and sleep, I will have a return of symptoms. I don't think my autoimmune disease is "cured", but it's being managed quite well.
  5. by   Holistic12
    Hi! I'm so excited to have found this post! I'm currently listening to the Healthy Gut Summit and decided to search Google to see if I could find information on a different path in nursing. I read your post and then realized that I follow you on FB. Since graduating from nursing school in 2012, I have become increasingly torn on where I should go from here. I've immersed myself into the paleo movement as well as natural health and wellness. Where I live, there aren't many like minds. Sometimes I come home from work at the hospital wondering why things are so messed up in the field. I long for a career that involves functional medicine and holistic nursing. I'm just not sure where that would fit at my current location. I also have no clue where to start. I have considered Institute of Integrative Nutrition as well as the Functional Medicine courses. I truly believe that is the future of health care. My workplace tries to push all nurses to go for their BSN, but I don't want to study "regular" nursing anymore. I don't think it would be worth it. Do you have any advice or tips?
  6. by   Steeleworks
    Sorry I missed this post. I have been a member for some time but never thought to look here.

    I got into holistic nursing when working as a Bloodless coordinator (managing people without blood transfusions). We used things like black strap molasses and peanut butter (now almond butter) to increase blood counts. My lowest was 2.9. Never lost anyone in over 1000 who refused blood, the majority being doctors and nurses.

    Then one day several years ago, at a B2B meeting, a girl introduced herself as a holistic nurse. After, I asked what in the world that meant. Turns out, I have been practicing it for over a decade in the hospital. As an agency nurse, I worked in several hospitals. In 5 different ones, I introduced gum chewing to decrease post op ilius and related problems. Helping doctors treat anemia's and pain management were my specialty.

    The ones who gave me the most grief with implementing holistic were nurses. The doctors loved it and said, to a one, why didn't we think o this.

    So, I quit hospital nursing and never looked back. It has been rough and the money is not as good, at least so far.

    I have been in a Korean documentary on the topic. They also had one of my clients (the word patient implies medical treatment). He has exceeded his expiration date for inoperable brain cancer by 2 years now.

    We are currently working with a young girl mid teens with metastatic liver cancer. She too was sent home to die. She is now 6 months and the mets tumors are almost gone.

    Headaches, prostate cancer, cramps, heart attack, high blood pressure, chest pain and MS put in remission and the people getting out of their wheel chairs....well, the lack of income is more than made up with this being priceless having been able to be a part of this.

    I will be back.

    Thanks for starting this post.
  7. by   softrbreeze
    I have long been interested in holistic medicine and have cured several of my issues with alternative routes (acupuncture, colon hydrotherapy, chiro, diet, etc). I have started looking into this field as pursuing a typical MSN is of no interest to me anymore. I hope to start seeing more activity here as well.
  8. by   MauraRN
    I have often asked the same question: why is this specialty not on fire?? I have been the recipient of CAM measures for 20 years, acupunture, massage therapy, herbals, essential oils, yoga. Three years ago my husband died of a massive MI, I was 54 years old and had a child still in high school, I was doing cardiac/palliative home care. I have had to work a lot of hours to make ends meet for the last three years but soon after my husband died I took a Reiki class and loved it!!! Since then I have become a Reiki Master Teacher, Crystal Therapist, Herbalist, and now I am working on Clinical Aromatherapy, focusing on therapeutic uses of essential oils. I feel as if this is my true path, combining Nursing with Holistics. I recently gave up my job and am going to take the financial risk to get an Holistic practice off the ground.
    I was so discouraged with nursing in the last few years, now I feel alive with knowledge that can help clients directly.
  9. by   Holistic12
    Quote from MauraRN
    I have often asked the same question: why is this specialty not on fire?? I have been the recipient of CAM measures for 20 years, acupunture, massage therapy, herbals, essential oils, yoga. Three years ago my husband died of a massive MI, I was 54 years old and had a child still in high school, I was doing cardiac/palliative home care. I have had to work a lot of hours to make ends meet for the last three years but soon after my husband died I took a Reiki class and loved it!!! Since then I have become a Reiki Master Teacher, Crystal Therapist, Herbalist, and now I am working on Clinical Aromatherapy, focusing on therapeutic uses of essential oils. I feel as if this is my true path, combining Nursing with Holistics. I recently gave up my job and am going to take the financial risk to get an Holistic practice off the ground.
    I was so discouraged with nursing in the last few years, now I feel alive with knowledge that can help clients directly.
    I am in that discouraged place right now. I live in a smaller town, and we do have a complimentary medicine practice but nothing else that I know of. I work at a hospital because it's close to where I live, but I struggle with how things are run every time I work. I see the same routine thing going on...the same sick people time and again.

    I get frustrated that nutrition is never really talked about in the healthcare setting, and so many are on drugs unnecessarily. I believe food is medicine. If the body is supported by nutrient rich foods without pesticides, it will thrive. So many people have cured themselves of (or brought under control) IBS, allergies, RA, and much more. I think the hospital food is terrible and don't get me started on that sludge they call 2cal. I'm just so frustrated with the whole system. I don't fit there, and I find that many nurses think conventionaly and don't seem to understand. They consider holistic to be quack stuff. They don't get it because their eyes are not opened to the possibility of something better.
    Last edit by Holistic12 on Feb 25, '15
  10. by   vintagemother
    I'm holistic. At least I used to be. I've become more accepting of "medicine" since becoming a nurse. I don't really see a way to combine my love of natural, holistic healing with the patient populations I've worked with. Even I had to admit, they need their meds.

    In my personal life, as a parent, I combine both methods now.

    I'd like to incorporate more holistic methods in my practice as a nurse, but there's not much I am allowed to do concerning this, other than methods my facility allows.
  11. by   vintagemother
    "If you are a holistic nurse, what brought you to the field? What does your current practice look like?"

    It's funny, when I decided to become a nurse, I had a major distrust of the medical "system". I hadn't seen a dr in 5 yrs since the horrible birth experience of my 3rd child.

    I went into the field because I love caring for people, wanted to pursue my "dream" and loved science.

    My most recent work experience, in patient psych, didn't have many opportunities to incorporate "holistic" methods. BUT, I think that my love for my Pts showed through my ability to listen, accept and practice therapeutic communication. I feel that having real empathy with my patients in some ways exemplified my holistic beliefs. Because I saw them as a "whole person" and not just a dx with a hx.
  12. by   cayenne06
    Quote from vintagemother
    I'm holistic. At least I used to be. I've become more accepting of "medicine" since becoming a nurse. I don't really see a way to combine my love of natural, holistic healing with the patient populations I've worked with. Even I had to admit, they need their meds.

    In my personal life, as a parent, I combine both methods now.

    I'd like to incorporate more holistic methods in my practice as a nurse, but there's not much I am allowed to do concerning this, other than methods my facility allows.
    Holistic nursing does NOT mean just integrating CAM into your practice. It means viewing your patient as a whole person and not just a disease. I think a holistic viewpoint is incredibly important when dealing with socioeconomically and/or medically at-risk populations.
    Nutritional intervention might mean decreasing soda consumption or helping patients identify the healthiest fast food choices. Lifestyle intervention might mean harm reduction for IV drug users.

    Holistic nursing is not about wheatgrass juice and reiki; it's about meeting patients where they are at and looking at the impact of disease on their life, and the impact of their life on the disease course.
  13. by   vintagemother
    Quote from cayenne06
    Holistic nursing does NOT mean just integrating CAM into your practice. It means viewing your patient as a whole person and not just a disease. I think a holistic viewpoint is incredibly important when dealing with socioeconomically and/or medically at-risk populations.
    Nutritional intervention might mean decreasing soda consumption or helping patients identify the healthiest fast food choices. Lifestyle intervention might mean harm reduction for IV drug users.

    Holistic nursing is not about wheatgrass juice and reiki; it's about meeting patients where they are at and looking at the impact of disease on their life, and the impact of their life on the disease course.
    I thought that I said I do incorporate holistic practices through my seeing Pts as a whole person, etc, as you described. Perhaps I didn't express myself well on the post.

    But, with so few of us holistic nurses in AN, shouldn't we all support each other? I think we should.
  14. by   MunoRN
    "Holistic" nurses aren't hard to find since a holistic care focus is part of every nurse's scope. If you're referring to "CAM" nurses then that is entirely different thing, unfortunately the term "holistic" has been used completely incorrectly by CAM focused nurses.

    "Holistic" refers to caring for a patient using a wide variety of modalities, including but not limited to medical modalities as well as complimentary/alternative (CAM) methods. The types of modalities used depends on the patient's preference. Focusing solely on CAM modalities is actually less holistic than the spectrum most nurses practice in.

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