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Holistic Nursing: The Human Journey

Holistic Nursing: The Human Journey

Every modern nurse knows their patients are more than the sum of their parts. That’s why they need to practice holistic nursing to achieve the best results. Holistic nursing is an integrated way of thinking, reflecting, practicing, and being-in-the-world and ultimately, a way of approaching patients. Many think of holistic nursing as a way of life as the philosophy, thoughts, and self-care become incorporated into one's daily living and professional identity.

Sacred Heart University: The Human Journey

Sacred Heart University’s RN-BSN program prepares you to stand out for good, incorporating a signature core curriculum based on similar principles as Holistic Nursing. The core curriculum: Human Journey is a national model of values-based education addressing fundamental human questions and issues that relate to the core of nursing. The Human Journey of Nursing course is a complementary course to the University’s course curriculum. The Nursing Journey course builds on the four fundamental questions, and incorporates many of the Holistic Theory components.

Sacred Heart’s Common Core: The Human Journey program consists of four courses taken at the undergraduate RN-BSN program level. These courses blend an integrated understanding of the arts and sciences preparing students to think critically, solve real-world problems and better understand humankind – a holistic approach ideal for nursing students

The Beginning of Holistic Nursing

While the history of healing the sick goes back almost to the beginning of time, there were relatively few advances in the field of medicine that took place before the 19th century and as such, the role of nurses remained unchanged for several years. In the mid-19th century, nurses began to be seen in a different light, as Florence Nightingale began to pioneer a new approach to healing the ill and diseased. She did so by incorporating a more holistic approach to her treatments that is mirrored by many in the nursing profession today. The role of nurses in society has evolved to encompass the holistic side of medicine such as caring and compassion as well as embodying natural elements of the human spirit.

Holistic Nursing Today

Holistic Nursing is defined by the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal”. The practice recognizes the total human being – the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotion, spirit, social/cultural, relationship, context, and environment. The views, beliefs, and practices of the nurse are as important as the nurse's view of nursing care. Sacred Heart’s core curriculum and culture brings with it a teaching and perspective that goes beyond nursing as a profession, and into a human journey for both the nurse and the patient.

The standards of Holistic Nursing are based on five core values of practice:

  1. Holistic Philosophy and Education
  2. Holistic Ethics, Theories, and Research
  3. Holistic Nurse Self-Care
  4. Holistic Communication, Therapeutic Environment and Cultural Competence
  5. Holistic Caring Process

Holistic nurses are mindful of the patient’s well-being in every aspect. This means being fully present and mindful, establishing caring relationships with patients, guiding and supporting patients in their choices of conventional and complementary care, communicating effectively, incorporating each patient's environment and support system into his or her care, assisting patients in achieving harmony in their lives, and-lastly, practicing self-care.

For example, when speaking and caring for a patient, a holistic nurse will:

  • Make eye contact
  • Say their name
  • Ask how they are feeling
  • Smile and use laughter when appropriate
  • Treat them with respect and dignity
  • Teach them how to take responsibility for their own care
  • Relax them in stressful situations
  • Take an interest in their lives

The Five Elements of Holistic Nursing

There are five elements necessary for a nurse to function in a holistic manner:

Knowledge: Master the basics of nursing practice.

Theories: Surmise to articulate, understand, and reflect on practice.

Expertise: Make accurate decisions and perform effectively.

Intuition: Understand individuals’ experience and connect it to healing.

Creativity­­: Innovate new solutions to problems and identify new ways of patient care.

A Commitment to Patients

Sacred Heart University is committed to educating nurses to ensure the best quality care physically, emotionally and spiritually for all of their patients. From studying new procedures to learning about new medications, the nursing profession as a whole demands that its members be devoted to their patients in every way and dedicated to improving health care through continued education.

It is important to remember that holistic nursing is not a replacement of medicinal practice. Rather, it is an all-encompassing practice of integrating all aspects of the individual into the clinical treatment to enhance the healing processes and create a healthier patient in every way.

Discover a values-based, patient-centered education when enrolling in Sacred Heart’s accredited RN-BSN program. Sacred Heart also offers a condensed and accelerated RN-BSN-MSN program for those who want to speedily obtain their master’s in the same program. Ranked among the top universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report and one of New England’s best colleges, Sacred Heart provides a quality education with innovative courses and state-of-the-art methods. More than 80 percent of faculty hold the highest degrees in their field. Call Sacred Heart University at 877-791-7181 to speak with an admissions adviser or visit onlineprograms.sacredheart.edu to find out more.