Holistic Nursing in Practice
A holistic nurse utilizes technology and medical procedures as well as themselves as an instrument in the healing process of their patients. By looking at the total environment that the patient is in from the hospital walls to medical treatment plan to the actual patient’s state of mind, a deeper level of engagement from the patient can be achieved. A nurse who recognizes the power of the patient’s mind can use it as a tool to provide better care.
To be successful at this specialty nursing practice, one must practice the core fundamentals of holistic living in their daily lives. Meditation, relaxation and imagery are all important vehicles to expanding our understanding of our states of consciousness. Through this practice we learn to call to our higher self in times of distress and create a path to peace and well-being. Once a person has embraced this way of living, certifications are available for putting the work into practice to help heal others.
Holistic nursing is a philosophy of care that is a layer on top of being a registered nurse. What’s different in their approach is that they have a unique way of engaging with patients, their families and the entire healthcare team that is involved with the treatment plan. In addition to using modern medicine and procedure, he or she will join the patient in their journey to recovery by creatively empowering them to communicate with their states of consciousness and access the place of healing.
How does it work?
A holistic nurse can engage a patient’s consciousness through verbal communication and through their own state of being. For example, a nurse who has administered pain medication to someone who is in extreme discomfort could take a few extra moments with the patient and through a calm, relaxed and sincere voice say “I am giving you this medication to ease your pain. It will be in your system very quickly and you will feel yourself shift from being tense and rigid to being relaxed. Be with the medicine as it moves through you and helps you to relax”. This visualization with the patient is one small step in engaging the power of their mind to help them feel better. In addition, you can take steps to get them to a meditative state by first letting them know you will stay with them until the pain has subsided and then walk them through closing their eyes and then to focus on their breathing.
The key is to help them reject thoughts of more pain or illness and accept only thoughts of health and a body that is pain free. To be effective at this hybrid role of a traditional nurse and holistic counselor, the nurse must call to their higher self to emit a state of calm and engage the patient in that calmness while at the same time performing medical duties such as reading charts, assessing the visible state of health of the patient, taking temperature, administering treatment, etc.
Listening to patients is an important part of holistic nursing. People who are ill or injured are inherently scared and have high levels of anxiety. In this state of vulnerability they will share stories about their pain and fear. This is an opportunity for the nurse to grab nuggets of that personal confession and use it to connect and engage the power of their consciousness to relax and heal.
Not all patients or medical facilities openly welcome this holistic practice. Some providers may be hindered by time regulations where a certain number of patients must be seen in a given amount of time that doesn’t allow true connections to take place. Some patients may reject the concept and will only let it go so far. In most cases though, a holistic nurse doesn’t stand out from the crowd. He or she can work within a traditional team of nurses and perform all of the required procedures. As this field becomes more accepted through clinical studies and patient requests, basic practices will be put into place by nursing teams as the results in overall quality of care show improvement when implemented.
by Linda Bright