Holistic nursing care is defined as a practice that focuses on healing the whole person through the unity of body, mind, emotion, spirit and environment. It draws on the specialty of nurses who become therapeutic partners with the people they take care of. More than just a medical assistant, holistic nurses believe in the mental attitudes and spirit to help lift the patient’s wellness through this connection.


Holistic nursing features a higher awareness of self, others, nature and spirit. This is the same attitude Florence Nightingale incorporated as the first holistic nurse, which focused on unity, wellness and interrelationship of human beings, besides their environment. Holistic nurses also have the same self-care and self-awareness of body, mind and spirit as part of their belief system. Through caring for themselves, it is believed it gives a holistic nurse the capacity to have that same awareness for the care of others.


Holistic nurses may use complementary or alternative modalities, which are also known as CAM into the clinical practices. They incorporate people’s physiological, psychological and spiritual needs into their care. They believe these enhance the healing process of clinical practices, rather than negate them. There are set standards of practices for holistic nurses.


The modalities holistic nursing integrate with clinical care involve biofeedback, therapeutic massage, humor, imagery, meditation, prayer and a healing presence. Through these other treatments to enforce the body-mind-spirit connection, holistic nursing has standards adopted by the American Holistic Nursing Association as acceptable means of offering these alternative or complementary treatments.


The American Holistic Nursing Association is the national organization that brings together holism, compassion, science and creativity to the nursing practice. In their mission “to unite nurses in healing,” they set out the AHNA Standard of Holistic Nursing Practice, which outlines the acceptable alternative care to enhance the healing of the whole person.


All fields of nursing can have holistic care providers, whether they are pediatric nurses, oncology nurses, surgical nurses or any other specialty. Holistic nursing care is a specialty based on principles of practice rather than areas of nursing care. Because of this, believers in holistic healing have access to the nursing care providers.

Core Values

The five core values of holistic nursing care are Holistic ethics, philosophy, education, research and theories, Holistic Nurse self-care, therapeutic environment, Holistic communication, cultural competence and Holistic caring process. The core values are what the standards are based on; they represent the true meaning of holistic nursing care.