St. John Providence (SJP) has set a new national record for the most board-certified holistic nurses in the United States. Metropolitan Detroit-based SJP, part of Ascension Michigan, has 89 holistic nurses, and that number is expected to grow as another class of the Holistic Nursing Intensive program graduated in April. Those nurses will be completing their board certification soon.

SJP was officially notified of the record by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation, the governing body that oversees holistic nursing board certification. According to the organization, a holistic nurse is a legally licensed nurse who takes a holistic (mind-body-spirit-emotion) approach to the practice of traditional nursing. Holistic nursing is based on a body of knowledge, evidence-based research, sophisticated skill sets, defined standards of practice, and a philosophy of living and being that is grounded in caring, relationship, and interconnectedness.

St. John Providence's holistic nursing leaders believe their success is due to strong leadership, as most SJP nursing vice presidents and directors are board certified in holistic nursing or are in the process of becoming board certified. Also, for the past two years, SJP has been educating and preparing nurses for board certification through its own Holistic Nursing Intensive program, instead of using outside consultants. Since launching the in-house education program, SJP nurses have achieved a 100 percent pass rate for board certification in holistic nursing.

"I couldn't be more proud of the nurses and nursing leaders who have championed the development of holistic nursing over the past decade. Through certification, nurses assure themselves and the public that they bring the highest levels of knowledge and skill in this specialty to their patient care," said Gay Landstrom, SJP Chief Nursing Officer. "Holistic care is right at the heart of what it means to use caring behaviors and foster the best outcomes for patients. And this national achievement should make all the SJP nurses proud!"

Coincidentally, the theme for National Nurses Week 2017, May 6-12, is "Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit." The theme celebrates nurses who understand that taking care of the entire person – the very foundation of holistic nursing – is essential.

Pictured above left: The SJP holistic nurse education coursework is grounded in Caring Science Theory and Relationship-Based Care that places great emphasis on caring well for self. Through caring behaviors such as sharing a hand massage, pictured, nurses often reflect on why they became a nurse. When nurses are engaged in the artistry of caring well for themselves, there is a greater capacity to care well for their patients and families.

Right, from left:  St. John Providence holistic nursing leaders Vicky Boyce, Peggy VanHamel, Surita Chaudhry and Mary Natschke.