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 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 this special interest group was conducted. Through this strategic planning process, the group of 100 members determined a new Mission and Vision along with numerous plans for the future activities of the CHNA.

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 as Expanding Human 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

In the fall of 2016, the CHNA decided to join forces with the American Holistic Nurses Association. This move was overwhelmingly supported by the majority of members. In December 2016, this amalgamation formally took place and this positive relationship remains to date.


Throughout 2021, the current Board of the CHNA has worked diligently to expand its membership options to include an Exclusive Canadian membership, Student membership, and Retired RN membership options. The CHNA social media platforms include this updated website, a Members Community and Public Facebook page, and LinkedIn and Instagram profiles. They also developed a strategic plan with the help of business students from the University of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia) with the goals of increasing membership and ensuring the Mission of the CHNA is met.

We are excited for the future, providing monthly webinars, offering advertising for members and affiliates, mentorship, and student outreach and more … listening to nurses from across Canada in order to best support them in their practices and self-care to create a cohesive and validated platform that supports holistic nursing.

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