Anyone done NIWH Whole Health Educator program?

Specialties Holistic


Has anyone completed (or know anything about) the National Institute of Whole Health (NIWH) Whole Health Educator for Nurses program? If so, have you become a Certified Holistic Nurse? What's the verdict? I'm trying to learn if it would be helpful to my career. I believe the education itself will be very valuable for the knowledge itself, and to help patients, but I'm asking more in terms of credentials, job obtainment and career advancement. The course is not free, so I'm thinking of payback in terms of the practical, realistic stuff.

Also, I'm trying to learn about coaching options independent from a hospital setting. Is it possible to teach classes or do one on one counseling with this certification. What would be the legalities, and how does it work with an RN scope of practice? Does anybody have any experience with this?

Thanks for any input!

Thank you! This is so helpful.

I was so surprised the process of securing an NPI number was remarkably easy. I'm not surprised that billing under them is confusing and legally challenging having worked in the legal field for years before moving into nursing. Liability is a scary thing and medical liability within a private practice is especially messy.

Most of the integrative private practices I'm familiar with don't bother with insurance reimbursement because it can be such an administrative nightmare. Most opt for private pay or sliding scales for services. Even a lot of the new concierge medical practices I've seen popping up are going this route.

I'm still trying to sort out whether expanding ones scope to be a "secondary provider" is worth the extra liability (requiring additional insurance) and billing/coding legalities.

Can anyone comment on how easy it is to bill with the NPI number? Are the reimbursement amounts significantly increasing your revenue flow?

Was anyone out there a nursing wellness coach of some kind (so not billing through insurance) first and then completed to NIWH program to get this expanded scope? How did it shift your practice? What percentage of your client base is being billed using this NPI number?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm not sold on the benefits of a NPI number yet, but I'm really interested in understanding more and trying to assess how valuable it might be.

On 11/16/2011 at 4:22 PM, RNLeah said:

I am currently enrolled in the program and I'm loving it. The information is fantastic, and while its certainly not a perfect program, I am learning a ton. There's definitely a lot of philosophy involved in it, but there is also a ton of research based medical knowledge thats quite impressive. I am only a couple months in, but I'm planning on using the certificate in a number of different ways. There's a hospital opening near me that's going to have a wellness center, and I'm going to try applying there. Also, chiropractors tend to use this sort of coaching model a lot. I also plan on starting an online website to get private consultations, and to see where the road leads. I looked for a program for about a year before committing to this one, and I'm glad I did.

Hey RNLeah! (Thats my middle name! love it!) any updates on how you are doing with your certification?? Im interested in doing the same. Thanks!

Specializes in Whole Health and Behavioral Health.

Hello cbrubaker,
If you would like more information about our program (a comprehensive e-mail which includes comments from our nurse graduates and their websites with their permission) please feel free to send us an information request and we will be happy to send it out to you. Also feel free to contact us directly at either 888-354-HEAL (4325) or 508-785-2592.

Kind regards,

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.
On 4/16/2019 at 4:44 PM, cbrubaker05 said:

Hey RNLeah! (Thats my middle name! love it!) any updates on how you are doing with your certification?? Im interested in doing the same. Thanks!

I went through this program and would not recommend it to anyone. In the past few years, several programs for nurses have begun. In contrast to the program from NIWH, these programs are full of cutting edge information as well as the basics.

This could have been an awesome program but they are so fear-driven and centered on themselves instead of the students that it takes away from the program. Communication is very difficult and much of it is defensive and unprofessional. Questions are answered with non-answers, contradictions of previous statements, or blame.

The videos used (at least when I went through) were full of valuable information, but they were very old which means some information was outdated. Two examples: ******'s lecture was from when he was still an Emergency Department physician. (He's now one of the world-leaders in functional medicine.) Some of the information presented in *****'s lecture has since been proven otherwise.

Overall, I felt that NIWH was always looking out for themselves. They appeared to want what was best for the student only if it would result in a good review or accolades for NIWH. I'd look elsewhere for your education, certification, and support. There are many programs available now for nurses, there are several I would specifically recommend over NIWH.

Specializes in Whole Health and Behavioral Health.

Hello JRaphasRN,

Thanks for posting your comments. Not everyone shares the same experience going through a program and clearly yours was very different from the majority of our graduates.

There are many programs available for health professionals and nurses. NIWH is unique in many ways and offers an experience
different from other programs. It is also currently the only nationally accredited program for patient educators, health advocates and
whole health coaches. We have been accredited since 2015 and currently our courses are reviewed by ANCC and ICF each year for content and relevance. The courses are annually updated with evidence-based research materials and abstracts.

I am sorry you did not enjoy a better experience of the program but appreciate your comments as we find all feedback helpful.
Best wishes with your work in nursing,

Kind regards,
Georgianna Donadio

Good Day, All,

I would like to kindly respond to the discussion regarding the experience of attending the National Institute of Whole Health 3 in 1 program for Nurses.. I am so sorry to read that JRaphasRN had a less than positive experience in the program.

I have been a practicing nurse since 1978. As a Board Certified Holistic Nurse, I would like to offer another perspective so that potential attendees may have a well rounded view. As previously stated, I am presently enrolled in the 3 in 1 Program for Nurses and at the point in the program of working with my Case study Clients. I for one, have found this program be robust, wonderfully thought provoking and challenging in a very positive way. This is not a program for everyone in that it is not a go fast and get it done type of program. This is a very deep dive program that challenges us to take a hard long look at what it is that makes us Human Beings and how the 5 aspects of whole health assist us in being able to contribute to our life and the lives of others in a meaningful way.

My experience with the professional staff is that they are helpful , engaging and timely in response to my queries. I have found the information relevant and important even if the information is always evolving. That is the nature of health and wellness. The information is always changing. Then again so are we as we evolve.

I have found this program to not only be intellectually stimulating but also soul stirring. It is the type of program that allows you to go as deep as you wish.

I had waited for 10 years to take this program and I am grateful that the timing was right. It was wonderful to be able to acknowledge that this program is the only nationally accredited program of its kind.

I would invite any interested parties who wish to pursue a new level of understanding of their role as a Nurse, Patient Educator , Advocate and Coach to please review all the facts and to feel free to reach out to the National Institute of Whole Health with any thoughts and concerns.

I am finding this program very worthwhile and I am grateful to be able to take this journey.

With much respect,

Fern L. Blizzard, BSN, RN, HNB-BC

I would not chose that NIWH program eventhough AHNA endorses it. I have tried to talk to those people several times based on their ads--No just NO. I have friends who have gone to it and their education--well education is never a waste, but do you really get what you are paying for is the question.

If you want to be a certified holistic nurse--I support that endevor--I also support the Nurse Coach(r) and in the spirit of transparancy I am certified in one of the advance certifications. I would personally choose one of the programs like the HSMI (Luke Seward) or the IHAP (now sponsored by AHNA) for general credit hours. I went to the original when the program was with the women who developed it at BirchTree. It changed my did the HSM-I.

I'm now studying for the NC exam. Its new in comparison to the other certifications. The other night I returned to the HSM-I documents and recordings that were in one of my sessions to reset--to come back to myself. The work is beautiful and very applicable.

Buy the Scope and Standards and read it ingest it, live it for two years. Once you know the Scope and Standards and can apply it then take the exam. HN has nothing to do with the modalities one practices though most of us do practice a few modalities--integrative practice. The other option is to do a program that is endorsed by AHNCC in one of the universities and then you'll be able to sit for boards straight out of school--nursing and the nurse coaching. If the nurse coaching you will need the The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching in addition to the ANA/AHNA Holistic Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice

I am on my third program at NIWH and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that they are the real deal. I first received certification as a Whole Health Educator and followed that with Whole Health Coach certification. That was in 2012.

Their classes were top-notch, the staff was always considerate, positive, and helpful, and I learned a lot for which I am grateful. Our classes were taught by leaders in the field: Dr. Mark Hyman taught us about Functional Medicine, Dr. Bernie Siegel taught us about the Mind/Body connection, Louise Gittleman taught us about detoxing and gut health, etc.

NIWH stays on the cutting-edge and started a new program for Whole Health Patient Advocacy and I decided to go for it. I'm finishing it now and will sit for board certification in a few months. Again, my experience with this school has been exceptional.

The staff go out of their way to be helpful and I have gotten to know the vivacious owner and founder who is the heart and soul (I believe) of NIWH, Dr. Georgiana Donadio. She is a true advocate, not only of patients and clients, but of every student enrolled in the school. I know I can ask her anything and I will always get an honest answer along with her wonderful, infectious laugh.

A friend of mine also went through NIWH after trying another online school that went bankrupt leaving her high and dry. NIWH took her in and she also had a positive experience. I highly recommend NIWH!

Specializes in Oncology.

I am currently in the program and I am beyond thrilled. I even have physical proof of healing; things I've learned that I applied to my own life! For 15 years I was neutropenic and none of my hematologists knew why. My WBC never rose above a 2 and my neutrophils were always <0.9. I've been in the NIWH program since September 2018. Well, I had my 3 month labs and smears done July 25, 2019. Guess what!! My WBC are FINALLLY above a 4 and my neutrophils are normal! I haven't seen labs like these in 15 years! I am beyond thrilled and I truly attribute my healing to the learning I've received from the NIWH program that I've applied to my own life. Most "Health Coaches" today are making suggestions about how to improve your life through diet, exercise, mindfulness, ect. , but no one understands the WHY, the HOW, and the WHATs that's are happening within our bodies and minds. Clients are not responding to the National Whole Health movement for this very reason. I truly believe that not understanding what is happening in our body and mind is the reason why. As an oncology nurse, I always teach my patients to understand the physiology of how treatments and side effect medications are acting in their body and to understand the body's response; I discovered my clients were more compliant and avoided hospitalization after a treatment, IF they understand what is happening. The same goes for Whole Health. One must understand the 'Big Picture" and the National Institute of Whole Health program offers the premier learning experience to do just that! It's the real deal! Don't fall for fakes or knock offs.

The NIWH program is top notch! The amount and presentation of course materials was phenomenal. The NIWH staff are professional and very supportive. It's opened my eyes to a whole new way of being a nurse and patient advocate.

On 10/30/2013 at 7:20 PM, HealthPromotingRN said:


I'm finishing my final requirement for the NIWH program and have already passed the final exam. Hopefully I can answer some questions. I enrolled in the program with the hopes of becoming a Health & Wellness Coach as a 2nd job to my inpatient nursing career. However, I'm not sure this program has provided me with the information I need to be an effective coach. The program is meant to be completed in a year, but it is time-intensive, especially if you are working full-time. I had to pay for additional extensions to complete the program, which has taken me about 2 years thus far.

The classes are self-study. You access a one to two hour video-taped lecture (some very old) from various instructors and a packet of notes for each section plus assigned books to read. Then you need to write a paper for each section.


- There was a lot of good information and basic review on the different systems of the body and a discussion of the different illnesses that occur. The program provided a holistic way to look at some of the major diseases (i.e.- heart disease).

- There were some good, thought-provoking lectures about coaching, active listening, inflammation, etc.


- I felt as though some of the guest instructors were participating in the program primarily to promote their own book, supplements or website. Many were promoted as being an expert in their field, but much of the information certain instructors provided was not based on sound research. For example, Dr. Barry Sears was one of the guest lecturers and talked extensively about fish oil. However, fish oil does not prevent heart disease. It was not mentioned that omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in plants and without the side effects and contamination risks of fish oil. I felt like he, and other guest instructors, were using this platform to promote their books.

- I felt the program ignored the latest evidenced-based nutrition information, such as important information from Dr. Campbell's The China Study, Dr. Calldwell Esselstyn's research on Reversing Heart Disease and Dr. Neal Barnard's research on Reversing Type 2 Diabetes. The program ignored the consistent science that promotes a whole-foods, plant-based diet in preventing and reversing disease and avoiding fad diets, supplements and reductionist approaches of nutrition that are not supported by sound evidence. I wouldn't feel comfortable giving nutritional advice from this program and am seeking out the Wellness Forum's program in addition to this one, since it provides the latest in non-biased, evidenced based nutrition information.

- The program was expensive

Anyhow, I don't think I will be using all of the information from this program with potential clients, but at least it provided some information on a holistic view of diseases, active listening and coaching skills that may be useful.

I know this post is old, but I found this synopsis extremely helpful as I am navigating the confusing world of holistic nurse coach programs/options/certs, and their pros and cons. thank you so much for your thorough review of the program. Most informative one I've read so far. I'd be interested in knowing where you are at now in 2019, with the education you have pursued. Are you nurse coaching? If so, any pointers?

Specializes in Whole Health and Behavioral Health.

Hello AnnaTalley,

Thank you for your inquiry. The post you refer to is approximately 8 years old and quite outdated -  not reflective of our current program.

NIWH has, since its inception in 1977, taught whole food, plant based nutrition. We have done this since the beginning and still offer this approach today. NIWH does not include all the models and theories out there for a variety of reasons; including possibly not being evidence-based or being biased/non-inclusive of prevailing nutrition science.

The China Study, for instance, has been challenged and some say "debunked" - which does not mean plant based diets are bad but that the China Study and its presentation has some important issues to be addressed.

Here are links to some to explore on that subject:

Our 3-in-1 Whole Health Program is evidence-based and takes a Whole Picture approach to each topic. Unlike many theories on nutrition and health, there appears to be no "one" approach or philosophy that can be applied across the board, but rather having the knowing and discernment to provide individual information for each client is the objective.

The outcome of our training is credentials as a Patient Health Educator that qualifies the graduate for professional , a National Provider Identification number in patient education, as well as an expertly prepared Billing and Coding manual, with ongoing practice support and webinars on how to develop a private practice or apply for a position with the credentials.

NIWH is the only nationally accredited post professional program in the field of Patient Health Education, as well as being an accredited provider, with distinction, through ANCC. NIWH is also an accredited provider for the CDR, NCHEC, AHNCC, AHNA and the Department of Defense's My CAA program for military families.

If you would like more information about the program please visit 

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