Embarking on a Healing Journey: A Guide to Holistic Nursing Certification

nursing is a distinctive nursing practice that considers the interconnectedness of body, mind, spirit, and environment when providing care. More than just a job, it’s a philosophy and a way of being. If you’re a nurse who wants to enhance your practice and integrate holistic principles into your work, becoming a Certified Holistic Nurse (CHN) might be your path forward. This article will guide you through the process of obtaining holistic nursing certification.

1. Understanding Holistic Nursing

Holistic nursing recognizes that a person’s health is influenced by a variety of factors, including their physical condition, emotional state, spiritual insight, and social circumstances. Holistic nurses use both conventional and complementary therapies, like meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and therapeutic touch, to promote healing and wellness.

2. The Importance of Certification

While any nurse can incorporate holistic principles into their practice, obtaining certification provides a formal recognition of your knowledge, expertise, and commitment to holistic care. The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) offers certification for holistic nurses, granting them the title of Holistic Nurse, Board Certified (HN-BC).

3. Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the HN-BC exam, you need to meet several requirements:

  • A current, unrestricted RN license
  • Minimum of 2 years full-time practice as an RN
  • 48 hours of continuing education in holistic nursing over the last 2 years
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of holistic nursing practice within the last 5 years

4. Preparing for the Exam

The AHNCC provides a detailed examination blueprint, outlining the content areas covered in the exam. It’s wise to allocate ample time to study these areas thoroughly. You might also consider enrolling in a holistic nursing certification review course to strengthen your understanding and readiness.

5. Taking the Exam

The HN-BC exam is a computer-based test, comprising of 150 multiple-choice questions. It covers a broad range of topics, including principles of holistic nursing, holistic assessment, and intervention strategies, among others.

6. Maintaining Certification

To maintain your certification, you must recertify every five years. This process includes completing 100 hours of continuing education related to holistic nursing and documenting 500 hours of holistic nursing practice over the last 5 years.

7. Expanding Your Practice

Beyond becoming an HN-BC, there are other ways to further your holistic nursing practice. For instance, you might pursue a specialty certification like Holistic Baccalaureate Nurse, Board Certified (HNB-BC), or become a Holistic Nurse Practitioner. There are also graduate degree programs that focus on holistic nursing, providing further opportunities for learning and growth.


Becoming a Certified Holistic Nurse is a rewarding journey that allows you to merge your nursing skills with a holistic approach, fostering whole-person health and healing. Not only does it broaden your professional practice, but it also deepens your understanding of the interconnectedness of health and well-being. If you’re passionate about holistic healthcare and committed to lifelong learning, obtaining holistic nursing certification could be an enriching next step in your career.

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