Holistic Nursing Schools and Careers

Holistic Nursing Degrees, Certification and Training Resources

holistic nurse with patient

Holistic nurses see the healing of the whole person as their goal, and they draw on a variety of therapies—including complementary modalities—to broaden their scope of practice.

In this way, they are able to address the emotional and spiritual needs of their patients as well as their physical health. An education from a holistic nursing school can help you earn a holistic nursing degree or, if you already hold an RN or BSN degree, it can augment your existing skill set.

Career Overview

In a holistic nursing career, spirit and emotion are just as important to wellness as the mind and the body; and the philosophy of caring and interconnectedness is inseparable from knowledgeable nursing practice. Under that general umbrella, there is a lot of variation in holistic nursing vocations. Graduates of holistic nursing school may practice in hospitals, universities, medical offices or alternative health centers. Some holistic nurses become wellness coaches, or specialize in healing modalities such as bodywork.

Training and Education

What You'll Study in Holistic Nursing School

All nurses must complete a basic range of science, health policy and nursing practice courses. In addition, if you attend a holistic nursing school, your coursework will include theory and practice of holistic medicine, professional standards, and specific healing modalities such as energy work.

Many holistic nursing programs also offer training in compassion, self-care, massage therapy, healing or therapeutic touch (bodywork), intuition and spirituality, depending on the school. By combining these healing modalities, the body is able to heal as a whole, rather than in segmented parts. Holistic healing recognizes the totality of the human being, integrating natural healing with clinical practice to treat people's physiological, psychological and spiritual needs. This type of nursing helps to complement more traditional methods for a well-rounded, complementary approach.

Average Length of Study

Nurses looking for holistic nursing certification must hold a diploma, associate's degree, bachelor's degree or master's degree in nursing. Beyond the nursing degree, at least 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing or a related subject are required, as well as a minimum of one year of full-time active practice as a holistic nurse.

Average Tuition

Completing the 48 hours of coursework required for certification generally costs between $1,000 to $3,000 for programs approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association. Tuition for a full holistic nursing degree varies depending on the length of the program.

Holistic Nursing Certification

A state license is required for all practicing nurses. You do not need a special license or certification to incorporate holistic nursing philosophies, but the American Holistic Nurses Association strongly suggests holistic nursing certification for those who plan to focus on holistic or complementary modalities. Certification as a Holistic Nurse – Board Certified (HN-BC), Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse – Board Certified (HNB-BC), or Advanced Holistic Nurse – Board Certified (AHN-BC) proves that you have met well-defined professional standards of practice that have been approved by the AHNA.

Career Outlook

With interest growing in complementary and alternative health care, professionals with holistic nursing training have reason to be optimistic about their career outlook. Nursing job opportunities are expected to grow much faster than average, and in particular, nurses with bachelor's degrees will be in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, job growth is expected to be much faster than average (25 percent)  for LPNs and LVNs.

Holistic Nursing Salary

Salaries for graduates of holistic nursing school vary depending on your job title and level of education in nursing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for registered nurses is $65,470, while licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses earned $41,540. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.

Is a Holistic Nursing Career Right for You?

As the American Holistic Nurses Association puts it, holistic nursing is "an attitude, a philosophy, and a way of being." It recognizes the patient as a whole human being whose body, mind, spirit, relationships, and environment are interconnected. Graduates of holistic nursing school learn to be caring, compassionate, knowledgeable about nursing, and devoted to being a facilitator of healing as well as a medical professional.

Learn about holistic nursing degrees online for a more flexible and convenient education.

Sources: American Holistic Nurses Association, American Holistic Nurses' Certification Corporation