About Us

The Canadian Holistic nurses Association was started in 1986 by a group of nurses from British Columbia, Canada. They began as a special interest group of the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia. The group applied to the Canadian Nurses’ Association and was granted Special interest Group Status in 1986. For many years, the CHNA offered a nursing specialization course related to holistic nursing practice developed by Dr. Ruth Lamb and Dr. Barbara Dobbie. Dr Dobie continued to run this specialization course for nurses until 2014 and Dr. Ruth Lamb changed positions and began to work for Langara College. Once at Langara College Ruth developed the course into the Advanced Integrative Energy Healing Certificate Program offered through Langara College from 1998 until 2020.

The CHNA ran successfully for many years. In 2014, a strategic assessment for the special interest group was conducted. Through this strategic planning process, the group of 100 members determined a new Mission and Vision for the group along with numerous plans for the future activities of the group.

The Mission and Vision are outlined below.


To support the practice of holistic nursing across Canada by: acting as a body of knowledge for its practitioners, by advocating with policy makers and provincial regulatory bodies and by educating Canadians on the benefits of complementary and integrative health care

CHNA VISION Statement:

Complementary and integrative health care are incorporated into all aspects of nursing and the patient care experience within the Canadian health care system

Nursing theorist description:

Holistic nurses recognize that the human health experience is a complicated dynamic relationship of health, illness, and wellness. Holistic nursing practice is based on scientific foundations including theory, research, evidence-based practice, critical thinking, reflection and the arts of relationship, communication, creativity, presence and caring.

Holistic nursing is grounded in nursing-knowledge and skill and guided by nursing theory. Florence Nightingale’s writings are often referenced as a significant precursor for the development of holistic nursing practice. Each holistic nurse chooses which nursing theory to apply in any individual case.

The following nursing and non-nursing theories are frequently used to support holistic nursing practice:

Nursing Theories:

  1. Theory of Human Caring and Caring Science – Jean Watson
  2. Theory of Integral Nursing – Barbara Dossey
  3. Science of Unitary Human Beings – Martha Rogers
  4. Health and Expanding Consciousness – Margaret Newman
  5. Theory of Cultural Care and Universality – Madeline Leininger
  6. Theory of Interpersonal Relations – Hildegard Peplau
  7. Human Becoming School of Thought – Rosemary Rizzo Parse
  8. Humanistic Nursing Theory – Josephine Paterson and Loretta Zdera
  9. Modeling and Role Modeling – Helen Erikson, Evelyn Tomlin and Mary Ann Swain

Non-Nursing Theories:

  1. Theory of Intentionality – William Tiller
  2. A Theory of Everything – Ken Wilbur

Membership for the CHNA group stayed steady at approximately 00 members spread across the country. It became evident that we did not have enough members to provide much more than skeleton services related to holistic nursing practice. In the fall of 2016, the CHNA conducted a vote and decided to join forces with the American Holistic Nurses Association. This was put to a vote of all the membership and overwhelmingly supported by the majority of members.

In December 2016, this amalgamation formally took place.

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