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Integrator Advisor Speaks: Bill Benda, MD, on the Recognition of Holistic Nursing by the ANA PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrator Advisor Speaks: Bill Benda, MD, on the Recognition of Holistic Nursing by the ANA

Summary: This column from Bill Benda, MD, initiates a new Integrator feature: occasional columns from members of the Integrator editorial advisory board or guest writers. Benda is an emergency room physician and graduate of the residential fellowship of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He has a strong interest in public policy related to integrative medicine and integrated health care. Benda is a regular columnist for Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal and is the first medical doctor to serve on the board of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

Send your comments or ideas for a guest column to
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_______________________________________________________

Nursed Back to Health

- Bill Benda, MD, Guest Columnist

"Once in a while, an event takes place that is cursorily noted by the media, but then subsequently exits the news cycle with little fanfare. It is only later that the world recognizes the true impact of the occasion, and wonders why it didn’t seem so earth-shattering at the time.
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Bill Benda, MD

"One such happening was heralded by a press release in December of last year from the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) - and mentioned in the Integrator Blog -  announcing the recognition and acceptance of holistic nursing by the American Nurses Association (ANA) as a validated specialty with defined scope and standards of practice.

"So why should this occasion deserve special notice in a world spilling over with newsworthy events in health and healthcare?  The answer to this question becomes quite obvious when viewed relative to the rest of our integrative stew. The American Holistic Nurses Association is to the ANA what the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) - comprised of MDs and DOs - is to the American Medical Association (AMA) – a membership organization representing a segment of the profession with a particular set of philosophies, beliefs, and practices.
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"Now imagine for a moment that the AMA announced that holistic medicine was a bona fide specialty, equal to Internal Medicine or Orthopedic Surgery.  Envision the effect such an occurrence would have on conventional medical education, and research, and the botanical and supplement industries.  Consider the collateral impact on the professions of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and homeopathy, and nutrition.  Think about the quantum jump in research funding from the NIH.  Visualize the increase in usage by the American public.  No more worries about who is the real holistic practitioner with the real training.  Paradigm shift in a bottle – just add a little political water and shake gently.

"There is an old adage, usually applied to a spicier human endeavor than healthcare, that states: “He who talks the most, does the least.  He who does the most, talks the least.”   Our nursing friends have been quietly achieving through persistence and an unwavering belief in themselves what the rest of us have been stumbling over for over two decades – acceptance by our homeland profession.  Carla Mariano, president of the AHNA, and those who went before her are due a bit of awe to go with the shock of their accomplishment.
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"I have been predicting for quite a number of years now that the nursing profession is the next political power in American health care - simply consider the sheer numbers yet inability to fill open positions.  But most of all, look at the public love for the one professional who gently holds a hand while skillfully adjusting incredibly powerful and toxic pharmaceuticals dripping through IV lines.  Everyone loves nurses.  Now everyone should honor their accomplishment as well."

Send your comments or ideas for a guest column to
for inclusion in an upcoming issue.


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