Complete Guide to the Holistic Nurse Practitioner (HNP) Specialty

Last Updated/Verified: Feb 18, 2024

Definition: What Is a Holistic Nurse Practitioner?

A Holistic Nurse Practitioner (HNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who specializes in providing patient-centered care that takes into account the whole person—mind, body, spirit, and environment. HNPs embrace an integrative approach to healthcare, focusing on the interconnectedness of various aspects of a person’s life and health. They aim to promote wellness, prevent illness, and facilitate healing by addressing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs through a combination of conventional medical approaches and complementary therapies.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice for holistic nurse practitioners is broad and inclusive. HNPs conduct comprehensive patient assessments that encompass not only physical health but also emotional well-being, lifestyle choices, stress levels, relationships, and spiritual beliefs. They collaborate with patients to create individualized care plans that emphasize:

  • Self-care
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness

HNPs may incorporate therapies such as:

  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Aromatherapy
  • Herbal remedies

While most HNPs specialize in alternative formats of treatment and medicine, they also often times incorporate these alongside conventional medical treatments to support patients’ overall health and wellness.

Skills & Abilities

Holistic nurse practitioners possess a unique skill set centered on treating the whole person rather than just specific symptoms or conditions. They excel in active listening, empathy, and building therapeutic relationships that foster open communication with patients. HNPs are proficient in assessing both physical and emotional cues, identifying potential imbalances, and guiding patients towards wellness through lifestyle modifications and holistic interventions. Their ability to blend conventional medical knowledge with holistic approaches is essential to delivering patient-centered care.

Holistic Nurse Practitioner Certification & Subspecialties

While there isn’t a single national certifying body exclusively for holistic nursing, nurse practitioners interested in this field often seek additional education and certifications related to holistic and integrative practices. Organizations such as the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) offer resources, educational programs, and certifications for nurses interested in holistic care.

APHN-BC (Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse Board Certified)
OrganizationThe American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC)
Cost$75-$125 in application fees
$395-$450 in exam fees
Number of Questions170
Eligibility RequirementsUnrestricted, current U.S. APRN license

2000 hours or 1 year of full-time holistic nursing practice within the last 5 years, which includes a minimum of 500 hours at the advanced practice level

48 CNE hours in Holistic Nursing Theory, Research, Practice, or related topics, within 2 years of applying

Graduate of a nationally accredited Graduate Nursing program

Subspecialties within holistic nursing may include areas such as:

  • Mind-body medicine
  • Energy healing
  • Integrative nutrition
  • Holistic mental health

Becoming a Holistic Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a holistic nurse practitioner involves a comprehensive educational journey. Aspiring HNPs typically begin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, gain experience as registered nurses, and then pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a focus on holistic nursing. Advanced programs provide specialized knowledge in holistic care principles, complementary therapies, and patient-centered approaches. After completing their education, individuals can seek certification in relevant areas and state licensure as a nurse practitioner specializing in holistic nursing.

Holistic Nurse Practitioner Employment Opportunities

Holistic nurse practitioners find employment opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings that align with their patient-centered and integrative approach. These settings may include holistic wellness centers, integrative medicine practices, alternative healthcare facilities, hospice care, and even traditional healthcare institutions that recognize the value of holistic care. HNPs play a vital role in promoting well-being, supporting patients in achieving balance and fostering a deeper connection between physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Holistic Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Salaries for holistic nurse practitioners can vary based on factors such as geographic location, years of experience, education level, and the specific healthcare setting. As of 2023, the median annual wage for holistic nurse practitioners is around $131,543. Given the specialized and patient-centered nature of holistic nursing, HNPs may command competitive salaries.