Traditionally nurses have been encouraged and trained to be patient - centered. When I graduated in 1983, I found older nursing colleagues to be focused on physical signs and symptoms of the condition that resulted in hospitalization. This seemed narrow in focus - especially when many patients were readmitted to our hospital through the years for the same signs and symptoms.
When Holistic Nursing formally arrived on the scene in the 1990s, I had no problem adjusting to the shift in nursing's mindset. Nursing returned to the core beliefs of the very first holistic nurse, Florence Nightingale, who believed that patient care focused on unity, wellness, and the interrelationship of human beings and their environment.
Holistic nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” (American Holistic Nurses’ Association,1998). The nurse is a therapeutic partner with the people in their care. This practice recognizes the interconnectedness of body, mind, emotion, spirit, social/cultural, relationship, context, and environment.
In Holistic nursing, the care-givers (nurses...) integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their lives. This enhances an even greater awareness of the interconnectedness with self, others, nature, and spirit.
"Holistic nursing is not necessarily something that you do: it is an attitude, a philosophy, and a way of being" (AHNA, 1998)
Today, no matter what subject I teach nurses, I cannot help but integrate holistic principles. In an eight week, Community and Public Health Nursing course, the first couple weeks are spent decreasing anxieties and gaining an understanding of the depth and breadth of the 'community' as a client.
Public Health Nursing has a broad client base, including: the individual; the family; a group (like a Girl Scout troop); a population group (like pregnant teens in a school district); an organization (workplace, school); and community (like the homeless population in a city).
The following short YouTube is a creative and energetic overview of what Public Health encompasses:
In class, assignments are geared to each student increasing an awareness of their self- responsibility, through reflections and research of such areas as immunizations; disaster preparedness; the effect of economy on health care.
A Windshield Survey Assessment of the student's county is conducted - considering the following assessment parameters (as in Nies & McEwen: Community / Public Health Nursing):
This assignment is illuminating for the student - reinforcing possibilities (not problems) and strengths (not weaknesses) that every community exhibits.
Nickelback's video of "If Everyone Cared" is strong in lyrics and message...summarizing poignantly that each of us has the power to make a difference in preserving our health, environment, safety and freedom from harm.
Through teaching, I'm convinced that empowering and encouraging the critical thinking processes of my students reaps a profession filled with unlimited possibilities for health promotion.
Until next week,
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