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Master of Science in Nursing degree programs in integrative care, sometimes called holistic care, emphasize mind/body wellness practices that complement traditional medical procedures. Students also might develop skills in environmental analysis and strategic planning, in addition to exploring the impact of implementing an integrative health care program and trends that affect alternative and complementary therapies.
Online master's degree programs in integrative nursing are not common, but a few schools do offer them. The degrees can be earned completely online and practicum requirements can be completed at a medical facility near the student's home. Generally, these online programs are reserved for current RNs who hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing.
Courses might cover acupressure, aromatherapy, guided imagery, herbal preparations and homeopathic remedies. Music therapy, nutritional remedies, therapeutic touch and reflexology are also commonly covered.
Health Systems Analysis
This course typically covers the environment, policies and structure of the health care industry. Students can gain an understanding of health care delivery systems, disease prevention, financing and social issues relevant to this field.
Health Care Organization
A course in health care organization might address governance, ethics, legal issues and organizational behavior in regards to various health care organizations and institutions. Students can learn about financial transactions, leadership and quality control.
A clinical concepts course covers such topics as pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics. Students can learn to conduct advanced health assessments, including basic physical examinations.
Like all practicing RNs, nurses who work in integrative care must hold a license, which is obtained by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nurses who meet experience and education qualifications can take the certification exam offered by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation (AHNCC). The AHNCC also maintains a list of schools it endorses for holistic nursing education. Several professional organizations offer continuing education training in integrative care.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in all specialties can expect excellent job opportunities (www.bls.gov). In fact, employment of nursing professionals was expected to grow by 16% from 2014-2024, which was much faster than the average for all occupations. As of May 2015, registered nurses earned a mean annual wage of $71,000. The lowest-paid tenth percentile earned an annual median wage of $46,360 or less, and the 90th percentile earned at least $101,630. RNs who have completed an MSN program with a focus in integrated health care might find work in a holistic health care setting.
In online Master of Science in Nursing programs, registered nurses take advanced courses that can boost their skills in the field. If they choose a focus in integrative health care, they also learn how to treat patients from a holistic perspective and incorporate alternative medicine into their practices.