Holistic health assessments provide valuable information about a patient’s health and well-being. These detailed evaluations look at several factors — such as mental, physical, financial, social, and environmental health — and offer a more comprehensive understanding of a patient’s situation.
Nevada State College’s Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) online program equips students with holistic health assessment skills, particularly as the demand for holistic nursing grows. With courses like Holistic Health Assessment, Care of Aging Populations, and Theory of Caring Science, graduates are prepared to offer whole-person care.
What Is Holistic Nursing?
Holistic nursing emphasizes the integration of mind, body, and spirit in patient care, but it dives into many more aspects of an individual’s unique circumstances. According to the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), holistic nursing is based on a “philosophy of living and being that is grounded in caring, relationship, and interconnectedness.”
This approach recognizes that a person’s health is influenced by many elements, from their living environment to their social circle, and addressing each is essential for promoting whole-person care.
Holistic nursing has also obtained specialty certification from the American Nurses Association, setting it apart from general nursing practice and defining a distinct scope of practice.
What Are the Benefits of Holistic Health Assessments in Nursing?
The benefits of holistic health assessments are many for nurses and their patients:
- Comprehensive patient evaluation. Holistic health assessments help nurses gather information about a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and environmental health. Nurses then can develop a full picture of the patient’s health and identify potential causes, such as social determinants of health, that impede their recovery and well-being.
- Individualized care plan. By considering multiple aspects of health, holistic health assessments enable nurses to develop individualized care plans that address each patient’s needs and circumstances. Creating a detailed care plan that meets patients where they are and incorporates self-care, nonpharmacological interventions, and alternative treatments — alongside traditional modalities — may improve treatment adherence and outcomes.
- Root cause analysis. Holistic health assessments help nurses identify underlying causes or contributing factors to a patient’s health issues. In looking at a broader context, nurses can recognize connections between physical symptoms and other areas of the patient’s life. This viewpoint allows nurses to suggest appropriate interventions to rectify the root causes of health problems.
- Interdisciplinary collaboration. Holistic nursing often requires multidisciplinary collaboration with other healthcare professionals. By incorporating perspectives from various specialties, nurses can gain a more well-rounded idea of the patient’s health and develop a more cohesive and actionable holistic care plan.
- Deeper patient engagement. Holistic nursing encourages patients to actively participate in their healthcare. It can also strengthen the nurse-patient bond by involving patients in the assessment process and considering their perspectives, values, and goals.
- Preventive care and health promotion. Since holistic nurses assess several dimensions of health, they can identify potential risks and develop strategies to avoid future health problems. The proactive approach supports early detection, health education, and lifestyle modifications — all key to preventive care and better outcomes.
Is There a Demand for Holistic Nurses?
Holistic nursing has been gaining popularity in recent years and becoming more prevalent in modern nursing practice. According to 2019 predictions in Alternative and Complementary Therapies, the holistic nursing specialty was projected to grow by nearly 20% by 2022, following a similar demand as general nursing practice. At the time, the president of AHNA said the increasing popularity likely grew out of the public’s desire for a “more complete and personal approach” to care.
Holistic nursing is a growing specialty, and holistic health assessments are essential to providing a big-picture view of a patient’s health challenges. Graduates of Nevada State College’s online RN to BSN program will be equipped to implement holistic care in any setting. By considering multiple factors and addressing the whole person, holistic nurses can develop individualized care plans, identify underlying causes, promote preventive care, and deepen patient engagement.
Learn more about Nevada State College’s RN to BSN online program.