The Whole of Holism
It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see. The word “look” is typically associated with appearances, whereas seeing orients around discernment. It is from discernment that one’s intentions, and actions, are produced. Nursing literature would argue that you cannot see anything properly - or alternately, adequately discern anything - without considering the whole; to only look at part of something obscures its true appearance. Holism is a word that concerns itself with the whole of an individual. Holism is a word that concerns itself with seeing: with understanding, with consideration, with discernment. It is from an understanding of what defines ...view middle of the document...
..a rich description of their experience...” (Johns, 2012, p.561).
The Importance of Holism
This importance transcends itself into the nursing profession because no longer are nurses merely taught a concern for “...“hard/biological sciences” derived from the prevailing medical model...” (Lane, O’Brien, Gooney, & Reid, 2005, p.132). Through educational expectancies and curriculum requirements, nurses today are pushed to comprehend “...the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients” (Lane, O’Brien, Gooney, & Reid, 2005, p.132). A more integrated approach in nursing education enables a more integrated approach in nurse-patient interaction (Lane, O’Brien, Gooney, & Reid, 2005).
Holism allows nurses to meet patients on their terms. Meeting someone on their terms means being able to better create a practical, personal treatment plan. Meeting someone on their terms enables a nurse to enhance patients’ sense of control over their own health; this empowerment flows from the nurse’s ability to understand how the patient has, can, and will interact with available resources for health promotion (Kitson, 2004). Not only is the creation of a treatment plan then more efficient, but any need for treatment alterations is more readily recognized and attended to (Kitson, 2004).
The Practice of Holism
It would be naive to infer that once a nurse understands holism they are enabled to practice it. Nursing can be an incredibly overwhelming profession. When thrust into a busy ward it is easy to categorize a person as, ‘the ruptured appendix in bed 13’; it can be much harder to see that ruptured appendix as, ‘Mr. Jones, the devout Buddhist who is unemployed with no family support.’ However, as referenced, nursing has made shifts towards increasing holistic practice by integrating it into the educational process (Lane, O’Brien, Gooney, & Reid, 2005). A nurse’s early exposure to holism while still in school allows for clinical, intentional practice under experienced supervision.
After institutional education, progressing into greater autonomy, a nurse’s interaction with holism is better developed. Nurses today can integrate methods from a variety of “...traditional, new technology, and complementary treatment modalities...” to promote health (Milner, 2003, p.4). Some practical holistic modalities include the use of pet therapy, music, meditation, nutritional support and physical touch (Milner, 2003). However, holism is also found in smaller details like voice tone, eye contact, empathy, sympathy, tact, active listening, and being present in the moment of interaction with a patient (Milner, 2003).
Since holism is about catering to the unique aspects of an individual, there is no step-by-step guide. When working as an oncology nurse one may have to explain how to find current clinical trails, how to obtain a second opinion, or where an interested patient can gather information on using herbs or acupuncture during chemotherapy (Milner,...