burn-bright-today

Heart and Soul Healers: What is a Holistic Nurse?

Share This Post

We live in such a strange culture and time, especially when it comes to our professional lives. Children are instructed to set high expectations for themselves from an early age. As they grow into adults, we cheer when they continue holding themselves to those expectations because, as a society, we believe that each of us will achieve a sense of fulfillment and purpose through this relentless dedication and perseverance. But all too often, this strategy sets us up for quite the opposite, as has been the case for millions of individuals (including myself). My name is Jennifer Marcenelle, and I am the founder of Burn Bright Today, LLC, and creator of the Burn Bright Wayä Employee Assistance Program (EAP). After years as an ER/Critical Care nurse turned sales executive struggling with burnout, I was fortunate to finally discover my true calling in life, transforming myself for the better by evolving my career and becoming a holistic nurse, and opening my private practice. This article explains how communities stand to benefit from this unique perspective on our collective and individual health, sharing the story through my holistic healing journey.

Holistic Nursing and Its Evolving Role in Society

Holistic nursing is recognized as a nursing specialty by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and requires rigorous academic coursework and mastery, just like any other nursing specialty. The American Holistic Nurses Association defines holistic Nursing as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” and focuses on the principles of holism, which include unity, wellness, and “the interrelationship of human beings and their environment.”  

A common misconception about Board-Certified Holistic Nursing is that it doesn’t require the same degree of academic rigor as status quo registered nursing certifications. Actually, quite the opposite is true. After over a century-long focus exclusively on Western approaches, new waves of medical thought are placing significantly more emphasis on holistic nursing as an advanced nursing certification. Finally, Western institutions are beginning to recognize that nursing and holistic healing are one and the same.

To become a Board Certified Holistic Registered Nurse (HN-BC), the prerequisites as listed on the AHNCC Board Certification website include:

  • An unrestricted and current U.S. registered nursing license
  • 2000 hours or 1-year full-time holistic nursing practice within the last five years
  • 48 CNE hours in Holistic Nursing Theory, Research, Practice, or related topics, within two years of applying for certification
  • Graduation from a nationally accredited Nursing program

Board Certification is renewed every five years, requiring:

  • An unrestricted and current US registered nursing license
  • 100 CNE hours in Holistic Nursing Theory, Research, Practice, or related topics
  • Myriad of continuing competency requirements including but not limited to: conferences, posters, presentations, curriculum development, publications, designing education materials, research projects, preceptorship, and professional committee membership
  • Compliance with ethics, rules, standards, and procedures

I view holistic nursing and energy healing as far more than a profession. Rather, it’s a way of life that considers all dimensions of existence when caring for clients. The word “healing” comes from the Old English word for “whole,” signifying the intertwined nature of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual aspects in achieving optimal health and balance in an individual’s life. The difference between holistic and traditional nursing professions becomes abundantly clear by tracing the evolution of healing and medicine.

Healers represent a profession as old as human civilization. In the earliest societies, cultures were oriented around wise healers who guided using natural remedies to heal community members. Over time, the natural world, as well as our spiritual connection to it, became divorced from medical care over time as bodies came to be viewed exclusively through biological and chemical lenses, which characterized them as networks of atoms and molecules that could be effectively manipulated through pharmaceutical treatments and medical procedures.  

For many of us, our careers and professional lives mean more than a steady paycheck. We need to not only know but feel that our lives and hard work have a purpose and value in society. And when those feelings dissipate or disappear entirely, we often fall victim to burnout. This condition has several underlying symptoms and causes, and not all of them can be adequately treated through the prism of modern medicine because they are often highly spiritual in nature.

For years, I served as a cardiovascular critical care nurse and in the E.R., dedicating myself full-time to saving the lives of others by working to heal their physical bodies. But even the countless lives I saved couldn’t shield me from the pervading sense of emptiness I struggled with for years. At 44, this burnout drove me close to taking my own life. At this moment, confronted with the possibility of my death, I first gained clarity over my life through a remarkable, out-of-body spiritual and quantum healing experience.

By telling people that burnout is not a “medical condition” but rather an “occupational phenomenon,” the suffering that thousands of people are experiencing has been outright dismissed, and those suffering are given the message that they are the problem. This is a recipe for disaster, as it encourages a downward spiral of self-blame and self-punishment that can only lead people into greater depths of burnout. These individuals require the help of a holistic guide to help them sort through these competing values and expectations, disentangling the intrinsic motivations from the extrinsic motivators they’ve permitted to dominate their lives. This is why I’ve become certified in many different modalities and now specialize in helping people get relief from common burnout symptoms that intersect with the relentless pain and suffering caused by anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD, many of which were brought to the surface during the course of the recent global pandemic.

As modern economies took root, societies began to organize less around a sense of integrated community and more around respective jobs, places of worship, and individual family unity. The tight-knit connections between individuals, their environments, and nature that previously united communities withered away and were replaced by distractions like television sets and mobile phones. This has led to several problems, including a society where our economies and industries are often at odds with imperatives to protect global biodiversity and many natural ecosystems on the brink of collapse. But holistic healers are working to reintegrate our spiritual and physical selves. This effort exists as a new generation of holistic nurses who draw their knowledge from both Western and Eastern medical perspectives.

My Journey as a Healer and Holistic Nurse

For many of us, our careers and professional lives mean more than a steady paycheck. We need to not only know but feel that our lives and hard work have a purpose and value in society. And when those feelings dissipate or disappear entirely, we often fall victim to burnout. This condition has several underlying symptoms and causes, and not all of them can be adequately treated through the prism of modern medicine because they are often highly spiritual in nature.

For years, I served as a cardiovascular critical care nurse and in the E.R., dedicating myself full-time to saving the lives of others by working to heal their physical bodies. But even the countless lives I saved couldn’t shield me from the pervading sense of emptiness I struggled with for years. At 44, this burnout drove me close to taking my own life. At this moment, confronted with the possibility of my death, I first gained clarity over my life through a remarkable, out-of-body spiritual and quantum healing experience.

By telling people that burnout is not a “medical condition” but rather an “occupational phenomenon,” the suffering that thousands of people are experiencing has been outright dismissed, and those suffering are given the message that they are the problem. This is a recipe for disaster, as it encourages a downward spiral of self-blame and self-punishment that can only lead people into greater depths of burnout. These individuals require the help of a holistic guide to help them sort through these competing values and expectations, disentangling the intrinsic motivations from the extrinsic motivators they’ve permitted to dominate their lives. This is why I’ve become certified in many different modalities and now specialize in helping people get relief from common burnout symptoms that intersect with the relentless pain and suffering caused by anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD, many of which were brought to the surface during the course of the recent global pandemic.

Holistic Nursing as a Path Towards Enhanced Quality of Life

I now have over thirty-five years of experience in allopathic and alternative healthcare, and my mission is to share the incredible healing power we all have within ourselves. I am a published author, podcaster, and popular media personality. I am a Board Certified Holistic Registered Nurse with various certifications in energy healing modalities, including NLP, CBT, and EMDR. I am also a doctoral student, I-MD, Ph.D., and have applied to medical school to become an ND Naturopathic Doctor. 

My business, Burn Bright Today LLC, helps individuals, teams, and communities discover pathways to enhanced physical and spiritual wellbeing through targeted programs and healing sessions designed to address all aspects of the self. To learn more and schedule a consultation, visit my website today. I look forward to helping make things a little easier for you!

References:

Martin, J. et al. (May 16, 2016). The Need to Respect Nature and Its Limits Challenges Society and Conservation Science. PNAS. Accessed on December 2, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.152500311

Petrovska B. B. (May 2012). Historical review of medicinal plants’ usage. Pharmacognosy reviews, 6(11), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.95849

Warber, S. L., Bruyere, R. L., Weintrub, K., & Dieppe, P. (January 2015). A Consideration of the Perspectives of Healing Practitioners on Research Into Energy Healing. Global advances in health and medicine, 4(Suppl), 72–78. Accessed on December 2, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2015.014.suppl

(December 17, 2002). Suburban Kids Under More Pressure than Ever. Teachers College Columbia University. Accessed December 2, 2022, from https://www.tc.columbia.edu/articles/2002/october/suburban-kids-under-more-pressure-than-ever/

(May 28, 2019). Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases. World Health Organization. Accessed on December 2, 2022, from https://www.who.int/news/item/28-05-2019-burn-out-an-occupational-phenomenon-international-classification-of-diseases. What We Do. American Holistic Nurses Association. Accessed on December 2, 2022, from https://www.ahna.org/About-Us/What-is-Holistic-Nursing

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

The Signs of PTSD in Everyday Life

While many people still associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with military veterans, it’s widely shared by people who have never set foot in a war