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Incorporating Holistic Medicine Into Nursing Practice

In recent years, holistic medicine has become popular. An increasing number of people understand that true health involves more than just the “biological” aspects of one’s physical embodiment.

According to WebMD, “holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. One can achieve optimal health — the primary goal of holistic medicine practice — by gaining proper balance in life.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare facilities sought alternative methods for treating patients because of the unique scenarios surrounding health services. Hospitals and other medical facilities took preventative measures to ensure individuals did not spread the virus. As such, patients could not visit their doctor or healthcare provider at the same rate as before.

For less severe symptoms, healthcare providers can see holistic medicine as a way to alleviate ailments experienced among the general population. Holistic medicine is different from traditional medicine because it does not immediately resort to invasive procedures to heal an individual. Instead, it evaluates the entire individual before concluding the optimal route.

What Therapies Are Involved in Holistic Medicine?

Healthcare professionals have become increasingly aware of the importance of treating the whole patient, which involves considering their background, living conditions, mental health and other significant factors that contribute to overall wellness.

WebMD states, “holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health.” These include:

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes that better promote wellness may encompass diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship/spiritual counseling and more.
  • Complementary therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy and naturopathy.

The whole-body approach impacts the nurse-patient relationship. It allows nurses to connect with the patient more deeply rather than assuming the need for western medicines. Nurses can fully understand the patient’s needs and determine possible lifestyle changes first before prescribing something that might cause more harm than good or be reactive, not preventative. Holistic medicine allows the patient to see their nurse or healthcare team from a different perspective as well.

The Benefits and Critiques of Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine benefits the patient but also the nurse practitioner. Therefore, unconditional support flows from both sides of the healthcare practice. WebMD lists the principles of holistic medicine as follows:

  • All people have innate healing powers.
  • The patient is a person, not a disease.
  • Healing takes a team approach (patient and doctor) and addresses all aspects of a person’s life.
  • Treatment involves identifying and addressing the condition’s root cause, not just alleviating symptoms.

Some individuals believe holistic medicine is not viable for healing patients because it does not target the actual problem or heal through traditional medicine. Others might believe holistic therapy cannot benefit all types of illnesses or diseases. Rather, they suspect it could prolong their suffering. Nevertheless, holistic medicine is still important for new generations of nurses within the healthcare field, and it’s a growing philosophy for care.

Upgrade Your Nursing Practice With a Master’s Degree

One way to upgrade your nursing practice as a registered nurse (RN) is to further your career and earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who enroll in the online RN to MSN program at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) will study the latest nursing theories, such as holistic medicine, with hands-on practicum experience.

Students will complete this program in less time — and save more money — than they would in many other RN to MSN programs. Depending on one’s schedule, students may complete UTA’s program in as few as 36 months.

The RN to MSN program structure allows all students to gain practical experience with patients throughout their lifespan in a holistic manner. For example, the Holistic Health Assessment Across the Lifespan course covers the basics of the theory and practice of holistic healthcare within the clinical setting. Likewise, in the Holistic Care of Older Adults course, students explore the concepts and issues related to the holistic care of older adults within the healthcare field.

With this education as a foundation, students are setting themselves up for success in whichever role they play within the healthcare field.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington’s online RN to MSN program.

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