Master of Science in Nursing: Online Integrative Health Care Degree

An online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a focus on integrative health care can provide the training, skills and industry knowledge you need to break into a cutting-edge area of registered nursing (RN) work. Get information about online courses, licensing options, requirements and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

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Essential Information

Nursing degree programs in integrative care, sometimes called holistic care, emphasize mind/body wellness practices that complement traditional medical procedures. Online master's degree programs in integrative nursing are not common, but a few schools do offer them. The degrees can be earned completely online through full- or part-time study, and practicum requirements can be completed at a medical facility near the student's home.

Like all practicing RNs, nurses who work in integrative care must hold a license, which is obtained by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nurses who meet experience and education qualifications can take the certification exam offered by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (AHNCC). The AHNCC also maintains a list of schools it endorses for holistic nursing education. Several professional organizations offer continuing education training in integrative care.


Online Master of Science in Nursing and Integrative Health Care Degree Overview

Online integrative health care master's degree programs are rare. However, those that do exist focus on conventional care practices combined with alternative healing therapies. Students can gain background knowledge in integrative care and learn about the current state of the field, as well as explore health policy and legal, regulatory, and ethical issues.

Students also might develop skills in environmental analysis and strategic planning, in addition to exploring the impact of implementing an integrative health care program and trends that affect alternative and complementary therapies. Generally, these online programs are reserved for current RNs who hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Program Information and Requirements

Most distance learning MSN programs with a focus in integrative health care can be completed fully online within 2-3 years; however, some programs allow students to complete some courses on campus if they desire. Special technical components aren't usually required.

List of Common Integrative Health Care Courses

Courses might cover acupressure, aromatherapy, guided imagery, herbal preparations and homeopathic remedies. Music therapy, nutritional remedies, therapeutic touch and reflexology are also commonly covered.

Health Systems Analysis

This course typically covers the environment, policies and structure of the health care industry. Students can gain an understanding of health care delivery systems, disease prevention, financing and social issues relevant to this field.

Health Care Organization

A course in health care organization might address governance, ethics, legal issues and organizational behavior in regards to various health care organizations and institutions. Students can learn about financial transactions, leadership and quality control.

Clinical Concepts

A clinical concepts course covers such topics as pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics. Students can learn to conduct advanced health assessments, including basic physical examinations.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in all specialties can expect excellent job opportunities (www.bls.gov). In fact, employment of nursing professionals was expected to grow by 26% from 2010-2020, which was much faster than the average for all occupations. As of May 2011, registered nurses earned a mean annual wage of $69,110. The tenth percentile earned an annual wage of $44,970 or less, and the 90th percentile earned at least $96,630. RNs who have completed an MSN program with a focus in integrated health care might find work in a holistic health care setting.

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