Transitioning from Bedside Nursing to Holistic Nursing: A Personal Journey

Change is the only constant. In the world of healthcare, this is especially true. As a registered nurse, I've had the privilege of being a part of this dynamic field, witnessing firsthand the transformative power of care and compassion. However, after nearly 10 years of working in traditional bedside nursing,  I decided to embark on a new journey: holistic nursing.

Why the Change?

Bedside nursing was an incredibly rewarding experience. It allowed me to connect with patients on a deeply personal level, providing immediate care and witnessing the direct impact of my actions. However, over time, I found myself drawn to a different approach to care—one that encompasses not just the physical, but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of health. This is where holistic nursing comes in. It's actually the root of nursing, but don't take it from me, just ask Florence Nightingale.

What is Holistic Nursing?

Holistic nursing is a unique field that recognizes and treats the whole person, not just their physical symptoms. It's about understanding the interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit, and how each aspect can impact overall health. Holistic nurses use a variety of therapeutic techniques, including meditation, yoga, nutrition,  aromatherapy and the most effective technique of all: health coaching to promote healing and wellness.  Who'd make a better health coach than a nurse, right? Yes, it is quite obvious, I am clearly biased.

The Appeal of Holistic Nursing:

For me, the appeal of holistic nursing lies in its comprehensive approach to care. It aligns with my personal belief that health is more than just the absence of disease—it's a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. By focusing on the whole person, we can achieve a much deeper level of healing and wellness. On both the individual and collective level.

The Transition:

My transition from bedside nursing to holistic nursing was not without its challenges. It required additional training (7 months to be exact) and even more importantly, a shift in mindset. One of growth and transformation. I am excited to share my journey with you and the opportunities it has presented for me over the last 5 years. And the ones to come.  When I sat for dual board certification in 2018,  there were less than 500 holistic nurse coaches across the entire US.

I look forward to sharing with you that by learning new skills, expanding the understanding of health and wellness, and bringing a more comprehensive approach to patient care we can actually improve the system that so desperately needs change. Be the change you want to see, right?

I will always value my time as a bedside nurse, as I learned how to be a team player and what it means to truly show up for people in their most vulnerable moments from childbirth, CPR , emergency trauma surgery, a routine endoscopy, and everything in between. I am eager for the rest of the healthcare world to embrace the holistic approach. I believe this transition will allow providers to be even more compassionate and provide comprehensive care to their patients.

To my fellow nurses considering a similar path, I encourage you to follow that curiosity. Our field is vast and diverse, and there's always room for growth and exploration. Our specialty (the coolest one in nursing) is catching fire. Join us. You won't look back. I promise you'll never practice nursing the same way.

Here's to the next chapter in your nursing journey (whether that's education, consulting, or case management).

My biggest takeaway from holistic nursing: it's that effective communication can make almost anything better.