Tips for Holistic Nursing in a pill-pushing culture


I've been an RN for over 2 years, focusing on med/surg units in a hospital setting. I am finally at my wits end and so tired of our healthcare culture where I spend my entire day handing out pills that usually don't "fix" the problem. While I do support some pharmaceutical treatments, the longer I am in nursing the more I know my calling is holistic nursing. After seeing proof that alternative medicine works, whether it be through chiropractic care, herbal supplements, or massage therapy, I have decided that I've had enough and I'm ready to do something that I truly believe in and support and as a patient who has repeatedly been left with no real answers, I am ready to turn my focus to a new style of healthcare.

So where do I go now? Is it worth it to join the AHNA? Should I get a certification? What kinds of settings can I be used in as a holistic RN and how do I make a living from this? I'm ready for a career change but I need some guidance before taking the big leap of faith.

Thanks for your advice and feel free to share your stories in holistic nursing. God bless!

Specializes in Adult Nurse Practitioner. Has 40 years experience.

I completely understand your frustration. After a LOT more years than 2, I am going to my FNP and will be operating a holistic practice. Not that drugs are bad...they are useful. The problem is that our society has been taught that this particular pill is the greatest invention and you should be on it. We also want the quick fix and do not take responsibility for our actions. This is slowly beginning to change, and I want to encourage the change. I struggled as an RN trying to "fit" the holistic model into practice and found that I was doing more and more work that started attracting attention, so I figured it was time to "go for it". Good luck!


34 Posts

Specializes in Oncology Home Care. Has 20 years experience.

To answer your question of "Is it worth it to join the AHNA?" the answer is YES! This is a great place to start if you want more information on this topic and how to transition. If you don't want to join yet, see if there is a chapter in your area and if so go to a meeting as a guest and network with these nurses.

"Should I get a certification?" the answer is no, you don't qualify for certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) You need to be working at least 1000 hours as a Holistic Nurse.

I think you mean more training by taking courses in Holistic Health which you can do online but first I would network with nurses who are already in this specialty. They are going to be your best resources for information on what you can do and how to make a living as a Holistic Nurse.

I have been a nurse for 25 + years and I feel your frustration, it's why I left hospital nursing 10 years ago and went into home care so if you need more help you can pm me, I write about holistic nursing on my blog, maybe I can give you ideas on what you could do.

I wish you all the best!

Specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L. Has 15 years experience.

I'm a PedNP student at Drexel. They have a certificate in advanced complementary and integrative health online. I'm starting it next quarter along with my PNP. They have an online program if you are interested.

Specializes in Nursing Education, Med-Surg, Home Health, Travel. Has 17 years experience.

Glad I saw your post! I've been looking for a change in my career as well. I was leaning more towards nutrition, but hadn't thought of holistic nursing. I'll have to look into the AHNA!


3 Articles; 104 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg., Oncology, Observational Units. Has 11 years experience.

Exactly the route I am going. I think it is important to become an NP so you learn the allopathic side and are able to wean your patients off the medications they may not need.