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What is holistic nursing?
Holistic nursing is a way of treating and taking care of the patient as a whole body which involves physical, social environment, psychological, cultural, and religious beliefs.
Florence Nightingale is credited with introducing the holistic nursing aspect to nursing. She believed that a patient’s environment had an effect on a patient’s health. In 2007, American Nurses Association (ANA) established holistic nursing as a specialty. Holistic nursing is referred to as “healing the whole person”. This means that nurses should consider a patient’s body, mind, spirit, culture, socioeconomic background, and the environment when delivering care.
Roles of a holistic nurse.
Nurses have many duties that aim to improve patient care and well-being. On the other hand, a holistic nurse has other additional duties. These duties are:
- Identify each patient as an individual.
- Acknowledge the whole patient.
- Interact with all patients and colleagues mindfully and respectfully.
- Assess patients holistically using open communication.
- Pinpoint potential contributing stress factors that impact a patient’s health.
Holistic nurses are also known as complementary nurses. They use alternative medicine to treat patients and combine their holistic healing techniques with traditional medicine. Examples of holistic treatments include the following:
- Wellness coaching.
- Hydrotherapy and balneotherapy etc.
Methods of achieving holistic nursing care.
Holistic caring process.
Holistic nursing combines standard nursing interventions with various modalities that are focused on treating the patient in totality. The combination of these various nursing interventions allows the patient to heal in mind, body, and spirit by focusing on the patient’s emotions, spirituality, and cultural identity as much as the illness. The six steps of the holistic caring process occur simultaneously which include the following:
- Therapeutic plan of care.
Holistic nurses use intentional listening techniques to focus completely on the speaker and unconditional positive regard to communicate with patients. The objective of these communication techniques is to create authentic, compassionate, and therapeutic relationships with patients.
Building a therapeutic environment.
Holistic nursing not only focuses on creating a therapeutic relationship with the patient but also on creating a therapeutic environment for the patient. Many therapies included in holistic nursing depend on therapeutic environments to be effective and successful. This is because a therapeutic environment empowers patients to connect with the holistic nurse and with themselves introspectively.
Nursing includes understanding the patient’s comprehension level, ability to cope, social supports, and background knowledge. The nurse must therefore use this information to effectively communicate with the patient and patient’s family, to build a trusting relationship, and to educate the patient. Holistic nurses must ask themselves how they can culturally care for patients through holistic assessment because they engage in ethical practices and treatment of all aspects of the individual.
Holistic education and research.
A holistic nurse has the responsibility of learning the scope of practice established in holistic nursing and incorporating every core value into daily practice.
Holistic nurse self-care.
Holistic nurses must live the values that are taught to patients in practice by integrating self-care, self-awareness, and self-healing practices. This is because they cannot facilitate healing if they are not in the process of healing themselves.