Integrative nursing can be defined as a healing-oriented medicine that takes the whole person (body, mind, and spirit) into account, as well as all aspects of lifestyle; it emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.
Six Principles of Integrative Nursing:
- Human beings are inseparable from their environments
- Human beings have the innate capacity for health and well-being
- Nature has healing and restorative properties that contribute to health and well-being
- Integrative nursing is person-centered and relationship-based
- Integrative nursing practice is informed by evidence and uses the full range of therapeutic modalities to support/augment the healing process, moving from least intensive/invasive to more, depending on need and context
- Integrative nursing focuses on the health and well-being of caregivers as well as those they serve
Why Integrative Nursing is so Important in Healthcare Today
There has definitely been a shift in modern healthcare from the disease-centered model to a preventative care and wellbeing model. The Centers for Disease Control observes that there are multiple determinants of health. These include social, psychological, economic, environmental, and physical factors. Integrative nursing addresses the whole-person system. Wellbeing, as a state of balance, goes beyond health and encompasses a sense of purpose, relationships, environment, and community.
Integrative nurses value whole-person care and know that the essence of nursing practice is truly caring and healing. By applying the principles of integrative nursing, the hope is to improve symptom management and overall patient outcomes. Integrative health combines alternative care, western and eastern medicine and complementary medicine to achieve the best results for the patient.
As many as 30% of Americans are using natural products in place of medicinal treatments, such as herbs or probiotics. Yoga or Tai Chi movements are other common practices that focus on breathing with mind, body, and spiritual considerations. Many conventional medical practices are encouraging the use of these non-traditional methods to improve patient outcomes.
Conventional medicine includes care provided by medical doctors, physical therapists and nurses. Doctors of homeopath, acupuncture, and chiropractic care are all examples of alternative medicine. Complementary medicine includes combining non-mainstream, or alternative, practices with conventional medicine. When non-mainstream medicine is used in place of conventional medicine, it is considered an alternative medicine approach to care.