I am a new graduate and have passed my state boards. I am looking for a job, but not one in traditional Western medicine. I do not want to pass pills to patients. How can I find a job as a new graduate that is mostly holistic in nature and nurture? What are my options?
Needs Career Options
Dear Donna replies:
Dear Needs Career Options,
You are coming into nursing and healthcare at a time of great change and evolution. That is good for you because you have an opportunity to be a pioneer in nursing by building your practice entirely on a holistic wellness model rather than an illness model.
Start by connecting with the American Holistic Nurses Association (www.ahna.org). I would suggest you join, attend local/national meetings/events even if you are not a member, and join a committee to get integrated into the association/specialty more quickly and build stronger relationships in the organization. When there’s something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those successfully doing it.
Embark on a course of self-study about all aspects of stress management, healthy living, wellness, nutrition and so on. You may want to add meditation, Reiki or something similar to your toolkit of offerings to enhance and expand your practice.
In terms of employment opportunities, there are positions as “wellness coach” in insurance companies, corporate wellness companies and possibly through your local public health department. You also can start your own practice or work as an independent contractor doing wellness coaching through holistic wellness centers, spas, gyms, clinics, etc. Then there are programs such as the Nurse-Family Partnership in some states that support well moms and babies. Some home care companies also provide wellness services.
Be prepared for others to advise you to get hospital experience first and know it is the old model of nursing. Some of our colleagues do not realize how drastically things have changed and shifted.
Even non-traditional employers may question your lack of hospital experience because that’s the way it’s always been done. You have to be prepared to articulate that you are a new breed of nurse who is building her practice based on the new wellness model of healthcare.
It’s not easy being a pioneer and a trend-setter but you will pave the way for others to follow. The great thing about nursing is it will take you wherever you want to go. Just follow your heart and your instincts, do what you love, and carve out your own path.