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Holistic Nurse Careers and Salary Outlook 2020

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Individuals who want to provide nursing care in a holistic way may want to learn how to become a holistic nurse. This page details the holistic nurse career path, highlighting degree options, salary data, and helpful resources for the field. Prospective holistic nurses can also explore holistic nurse licensing requirements, including information about training and certification.

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What is a Holistic Nurse?

What is a holistic nurse and what does a holistic nurse do? Holistic nurses focus on treating patients as whole beings instead of treating specific symptoms. Sometimes referred to as complementary health nurses, they take a mind-body-spirit-emotion approach to nursing, incorporating alternative forms of medicine along with Western medicine.

Holistic nurses often promote self-care to their patients along with spirituality, self-responsibility, and self-reflection to help them maintain a healthy balance of mind, spirit, and body.

  • What Do Holistic Nurses Do?

    Holistic nurses use unique and alternative methods for treatment and medication. Their approach may combine Eastern and Western medicine, including newer methods of care, to treat patients and teach communities about wellness.

    Holistic nurses believe human health involves more than just physical well-being. They live by the mantra that a person must be healthy as a whole, across all levels of being, including mental state, emotional health, and physical well-being. Holistic nursing is a relatively new, niche nursing field, though it has found interest from patients and medical staff.

    Holistic nurses blend Eastern and Western medicine to treat their patients and teach them about wellness and preventative healthcare. They use a variety of techniques, including wellness coaching, Chinese and Eastern healing practices, hypnosis, hypnotherapy, balneotherapy, massage, aromatherapy, stress management, and acupuncture.

    Holistic nurses recognize each patient as a whole, considering their minds, spirits, and bodies. They holistically assess patients through therapeutic communication and traditional nursing concepts to identify potential stress factors. Holistic nurses also practice mindful presence through their interactions with colleagues and patients.

  • Where Do Holistic Nurses Work?

    Holistic nurses practice in a variety of settings, although most work in private practice establishments, in patients’ homes, or in birthing centers. Occasionally, holistic nurses work in traditional hospital settings.

    Holistic nurses often work in specialized settings because they use a variety of alternative techniques and methods of medical practice that are not considered typical for nursing. Additionally, holistic nurses use different equipment than traditional nurses. These nurses often work in settings that do not authorize traditional registered nurses, allowing holistic nurses access to job opportunities in unique venues.

  • Skills That Could Affect Holistic Nurse Salaries

    Holistic nursing differs from traditional nursing in that it focuses on patients as a whole rather than analyzing one particular ailment. Because of the profession’s unique nature, holistic nurses need specialty skills. These professionals must demonstrate compassion, understanding their patients on all levels and recognizing their minds, bodies, and spirits. They should also think outside the box, deriving new and innovative ways to provide quality care to patients.

    Holistic nurses need to think critically, understanding how to best serve patients of different backgrounds and situations. They also need strong communication skills because they must communicate with other healthcare professionals along with patients.

How to Become a Holistic Nurse

The first step to becoming a holistic nurse is earning a holistic nurse degree. Individuals can pursue an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing, and some colleges and universities allow learners to concentrate their degrees in holistic nursing.

Once they complete educational requirements, candidates can pursue registered nurse licensure. Learners earn their licenses once they complete and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. After gaining experience as a registered nurse, they can seek certification opportunities within the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation and pursue specialized job opportunities.


Part of becoming a holistic nurse is obtaining registered nurse licensure. Registered nurse licensing programs require professionals to complete an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing. While either degree can lead to entry-level nursing positions, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree.

Holistic nurses do not need a master’s degree. However, nurses who want to advance their holistic nursing careers can enroll in master’s programs and pursue concentrations focusing on the holistic nursing discipline. Full-time learners who follow the bachelor’s degree path typically take four years to complete their programs.

Training and Certification

Before becoming a holistic nurse, professionals must first earn their registered nurse license. Once they earn their RN license, nurses can apply for certification through the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation, where they must meet holistic nurse requirements for licensure. Before applying, registered nurses must show proof of continuing education credits in holistic nursing and pass both a quantitative exam and a qualitative assessment.

Earning certification allows professionals in the holistic nursing field to stand apart from other candidates. Certification demonstrates that professionals hold a certain level of knowledge and experience in a particular specialty. By joining professional organizations, holistic nurses can explore professional development and training opportunities. They can also connect with others to share ideas and learn new techniques.

Holistic Nurse Salaries and Job Growth

How much does a holistic nurse make? Holistic nurse salary data depends on nurses’ experience and location. The occupation’s national median salary is $63,263. Nurses in Los Angeles, California, earn the most, bringing home a median salary of $86,670. Holistic nurses can explore other high-paying opportunities in New York City, Houston, Chicago, and Dallas, with amounts ranging from $63,793-$82,874.

Entry-level holistic nurses earn a median salary of $53,736, while more experienced nurses earn $72,001. Holistic nursing is rarer specialty among registered nurses. Registered nurses in the United States have the highest-paying opportunities in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. California offers the highest salary opportunities and the highest employment levels for registered nurses, while South Dakota offers the occupation’s highest concentration of jobs.

Highest Salary Locations for Registered Nurses
National Median $63,263
Los Angeles, California $86,670
New York, New York $82,874
Houston, Texas $71,487
Chicago, Illinois $65,793
Dallas, Texas $63,793

Source: PayScale

Median Salary for Registered Nurses by Career Experience

  • Entry Level: $53,736
  • Early Career: $59,439
  • Mid Career: $65,530
  • Experienced: $69,027
  • Late Career: $72,001
  • Source: PayScale

    Related Job Salaries
    Medical Assistant Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Registered Nurse (RN), Emergency Room Registered Nurse (RN), Critical Care
    $32,840 $27,891 $43,528 $66,391 $72,656

    Source: PayScale

    Holistic Nurse Resources

    • American Holistic Nurses Association AHNA serves healthcare providers and nurses who are dedicated to promoting holism in nursing practice. AHNA advances the holistic nursing field through advocacy, research, community building, and education.
    • Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine AIHM is a global community of health professionals interested in promoting innovative leadership, collaboration, research, and advocacy in global healing traditions. It promotes the delivery of evidence-informed, sustainable, individualized medical care. The organization focuses on the healing power of love, optimal health, the whole person, prevention, and treatment.
    • American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation AHNCC is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring the security, reliability, and integrity of the holistic nurse certification process through the organization’s certification programs. The organization focuses on advancing person-centered care, allowing holistic nurses to network and access educational resources and activities.
    • Integrative Medicine and Holistic Health Association A nonprofit professional and educational association, this group supports integrative medicine and holistic health practitioners. It aims to transform the nation’s disease-centered healthcare model to an integrative, proactive, value-based model.
    • American Nurses Association ANA advances the nursing profession by promoting high standards of nursing practice and safe, ethical work environments. It also advocates for healthcare issues that affect both the public and nurses. ANA is the nation’s premier organization for nurses who provide quality healthcare across the country.
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