Advice For Holistic Nursing Jobs

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation.

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Help! I need guidance on my career direction.

Hello Nurse Beth,

I have been working on a pediatric oncology floor for about two years now. The job has been an adventure, challenges and triumphs, so much growth and learning. However I am dreaming of a change, and I feel like pediatric oncology is very specialized. I am also interested in possibly not working in an inpatient unit, moving away from shift work, and providing more holistic care for my patients. I love paediatrics, but I would not mind also working with adults. Perhaps a family clinic?

I have also applied for my Master of Nursing with Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners – they have informed that I may be waitlisted as I had applied late. With all this to say, I have been dreaming of making a change in my nursing career but I'm having a hard time knowing which steps to take to get to a better suited job for me. Any advice or guidance in how to explore options away from inpatient care would be very appreciated!

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

167 Articles; 2,972 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Making a Change,

You are at that point where you know there's more out there for you, and it's time to spread your wings. Good for you!

The beliefs that underline holistic nursing are that our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves are interconnected and that to treat those aspects together produces the best outcomes. Holistic nurses promote wellness and healing through fostering relationships with their patients.

As the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) puts it, holistic nursing is "an attitude, a philosophy, and a way of being.” You can always incorporate holistic philosophies into your practice to a certain degree depending on your job. The AHNA's stated vision is that "every nurse is a holistic nurse". 

Holistic Nursing Certification

A nursing certification is available. You could pursue the certification while you are wait-listed for your NP program.  Certification shows you have met well-defined standards of professional practice approved by the AHNA. 

AHNA offers a board certification for ADNs, BSNs, and masters degree RNs.

  • Board Certified (HN-BC)
  • Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse – Board Certified (HNB-BC)
  • Advanced Holistic Nurse – Board Certified (AHN-BC)

Check to see if you have a local chapter of AHNA, and get involved.

Jobs for Holistic Nurses

Holistic nurses can practice in a variety of settings.

Health coaching is an alternative to bedside nursing. A large number of Americans suffer from chronic, life-style diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Insurance companies are beginning to realize that resources spent of prevention save money in the long run.

There is a push to prevent 30 day re-admissions and emergency room utilization of these patients, for example, patients with heart failure. Transitional care management is designed to manage these patients on an outpatient basis through monitoring, education and coaching.

Go on a Job Search engine such as to see what's out there. Use keywords such as

  • wellness coordinator
  • health coach
  • population health
  • health educator

The more you look into it, the more you'll learn in order to help you determine what attracts you.