Holistic Nursing Jobs: Salary, Requirements and Career Options

Holistic nurses focus on the human being as a whole, including mental, physical, spiritual, social, emotional, and environmental aspects. They serve as facilitators in the healing process and help patients through their illnesses by treating the cause and not just the symptoms.

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Salary for Holistic Nurses

As is detailed below, almost all holistic nurses are also registered nurses (RN); in order to gain certification as a holistic nurse, individuals must already have been certified as RNs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that the median annual salary earned by all registered nurses was $66,220 in May 2013. Many factors play a role in determining a holistic nurse's salary. Some considerations include the state where they're employed, the company size, and individual experience.

Holistic Nursing Job Requirements

Different degree programs can lead to becoming a holistic nurse. Obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is one path to take; most colleges and universities offer this four-year program. Community and junior colleges have Associate of Science in Nursing programs that take two to three years to complete. The least common option is to finish a three-year diploma program given by a hospital; however, not all hospitals offer this option. Some nursing programs use a holistic approach, but it's not standard practice.

All three paths can lead to entry-level nursing positions, but employers tend to favor candidates with a BSN. To advance further, nurses may also earn a master's degree in nursing. Some master's programs have concentrations in holistic nursing, and earning the degree can lead to higher-paying positions.

Holistic nurses, like all registered nurses, must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before finding work. Some states have other eligibility requirements as well. After passing the NCLEX-RN, registered nurses can voluntarily apply for certification in holistic nursing, which the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (www.ahncc.org) administers for three different designations. All applicants must be currently licensed as registered nurses and show proof of continuing education in holistic nursing. Applicants must then complete a qualitative assessment and quantitative exam to earn certification; recertification takes place every five years.

Career Options for Holistic Nurses

Holistic nurses may work in many environments, including physicians' offices, hospitals, clinics. or patients' homes. Since hospitals are 24-hour facilities, hospital workers may be required to work evenings, weekends. or rotating shifts. Working in patients' homes may also lead nurses to work during evening hours and on weekends to accommodate patients' schedules. Holistic nurses working in physician's offices are likely to have a more regular day schedule, as offices are typically open during regular business hours.

Additional career options for holistic nurses include working in government and social assistance agencies or academic settings, such as being a school nurse. Professionals with specialized degrees can work as advanced practice nurses, including nurse anesthetists, midwives. and nurse practitioners.

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