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The world of Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Holistic Nursing has lost one of its most enthusiastic practitioners and greatest proponents. Nancy Sohlberg died on April 28th at Westminster Suncoast Health Center in St Petersburg, FL at the age of 92. Her last words were said urgently, “I have to go. I have to go right now. I have to go help people,” then saying “Mother Mary” she quietly took her last breath.

And help people she did. Learning Therapeutic Touch in her late 60s, Nancy studied TT bi-weekly for over 25 years with Shirley Spear Begley in one of the first on-going TT Mentorship Programs, obtaining her international Qualified Therapeutic Touch Practitioner certification. She also became board certified in Holistic Nursing and studied Guided Imagery extensively stating that learning these methods were very significant in her work with others.

Among her many recognitions, Nancy was awarded the Empath Health/Suncoast Hospice Volunteer of the Year award for decades of service as an Eleventh Hour Volunteer where she provided her unique brand of caring, TT and Guided Imagery to patients during the dying process. She offered TT for people in bereavement programs and for those dealing with AIDS as well as in a public forum following 9/11. Among other offerings, she also lectured annually on TT in a course at the University of Tampa.

A member of ASPEC, the Association for Senior Professionals at Eckerd College, she was a Discussant Colleague in various courses. One she especially enjoyed was titled “Quest for Meaning.” Nancy tutored reading for young girls through the United Way, and headed up the Altar Guild at St. Matthew’s Episcopalian church. She also practiced Tai Chi late into her years.

Those who knew Nancy will miss her and her witty sense of humor and spontaneous quoting of poetry appropriate to most any situation. She was also a Thespian, acting for years in many area productions. One has to wonder if with Nancy’s urgent last words, she isn’t already carrying on many of these compassionate activities in her new residence.

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For the third year in a row, the four Ascension hospitals in southeast Michigan – Ascension Macomb­Oakland, Ascension Providence, Ascension River District and Ascension St. John – attained the national record for the highest number of board-certified holistic nurses in the country.
Ascension St. John Hospital was officially notified of this record by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) in early January. Since 2006, 133 nurses at the four hospitals have achieved board certification in holistic nursing after attending the certification preparation courses offered through Ascension SE Michigan.
Holistic nursing was recognized by American Nurses Association in 2006 as a nursing specialty with defined scope and standards of practice. Holistic nursing defines healing the whole person as its goal, taking a mind, body, spirit, emotion and environment approach to the practice of traditional nursing.
It encourages nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality and reflection into their lives. These concepts are an integral part of the Ascension nursing professional practice model and align with the Ascension Mission of being dedicated to spiritually centered, holistic care which sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities.
The Holistic Nurse Intensive-Core Curriculum© (HNI) is a unique, three-session program offered in a retreat setting and prepares nurses to take the AHNCC certification exam in holistic nursing. Upon completion, nurses are awarded 58 continuing education units applicable toward board certification. Graduates are able to incorporate new knowledge and skills into their nursing practice, embody therapeutic presence, and implement person-centered care. Here are comments from a few graduates:
“This experience is totally life changing I am excited to see where it takes me. ”
”Many useful skills have been gained that will enhance my work life and home life as well as the care of my patients.”
”Personally, this was a renewal for me. I’ve been a nurse for a long time and sometimes it becomes a routine, but after I attended this program I feel like my spirit is revived again,· excited to care more, give more what I learned”

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AHNA Executive Director Terri Roberts JD, RN and AHNCC CEO Margaret Erickson PhD, MSN, CNS, APHN-BC attended the “Pain Management in the United States: An Underlying Contributor to the Opioid Crisis” Congressional Briefing Wednesday, March 6 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C. Featured experts from academic, government, and association settings educated members and staff on the field of integrative pain management. The goal for the briefing was to explore the idea of multi-modality models of care, including models currently being implemented within the US Department of Veterans Affairs, University Hospital systems, and Integrative Pain Clinics. Another objective was to bring attention to alternative therapies like, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy and yoga therapy and also bring light to the barriers of access to these modalities. The Congressional Briefing preceded the annual meeting of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) in Washington D.C. Terri and Margaret are AHNA and AHNCC’s representatives to IHPC. Margaret was elected to the IHPC Executive Committee at the annual meeting.

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The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) and the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) announce the publication of a standardized model for Holistic Nursing basic to doctoral educational programs. Designed to help faculty teach nurses how to practice holistic person-centered care; use the sciences of holism, health, wellness, and wellbeing; utilize the individual’s worldview in a holistic caring-process; and actively engage in a life-time of holistic self-development, this work, provides:

  • A standardized model for curriculum development based in a philosophy, standards, and Core Values of Holistic Nursing;
  • Required essentials for Holistic Nursing Educational Programs, built on AACN Essentials; and
  • Outcome competencies expected of nurses graduating from these programs.

To access the document and read about additional resources planned to help faculty conceptualize, embrace, and develop a seamless basic to doctoral educational program, click here.

Comments and questions are welcome. Post them here, (bottom of the page), and we will respond as soon as possible.

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AHNCC is currently seeking certified holistic nurses or nurse coaches to promote these specialties to the public sector and mainstream media through publication in lay journals (Reader’s Digest, Prevention, AARP, Guideposts, etc.) AHNCC is also seeking certified holistic nurses or nurse coaches to provide a short videoclip on Holistic Nursing or Nurse Coaching. Videos will be reviewed and those selected will be posted to AHNCC’s YouTube page, Facebook page, and will be shared for potential use for personal or professional social platforms. Click here for more details.
AHNCC believes that sharing the knowledge of Holistic Nursing and Nurse Coaching to the broader public is valuable and important to advance health and wellness.

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Capital University’s Department of Nursing has been awarded a second $200,000 grant by the Ohio Board of Nursing from the Nursing Education Grant Program (NEGP) to increase enrollment capacity in the university’s nurse education programs.

“Exceptional, holistic nurses and nurse leaders, like those we prepare at Capital, are essential to sustaining healthy communities, families, individuals and the health care systems that support them,” said Capital Nursing Dean Ann Peden. “By investing to expand Capital’s nursing program, the Ohio Board of Nursing and our partners are helping Capital champion lifelong health and well-being to lift up and improve lives in communities near and far. We are grateful for their confidence in us and our mission.”

Nursing’s ongoing relationship with OhioHealth was instrumental in being awarded the NEGP grant, which will provide resources for new laboratory equipment to expand and complete dedicated nursing simulation and skills lab spaces in Battelle Hall of Science and Nursing. Equipment will include high-fidelity simulation mannequins, laptop computers, a mobile medication administration system and other equipment to complete the two new labs and to update the original nursing skills lab. Grant funds also will support the addition of faculty necessary to expand Capital’s new Hybrid Online Nursing Accelerated Program.


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Welcome to all who are interested in standardizing Holistic Nursing curriculum guidelines,  transforming healthcare,  and empowering nurses so they can practice to the maximum of their abilities.

The American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC) in concert with the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) announce the publication of a document that can be used to standardize holistic nursing educational processes for those entering the Nursing Profession. The Holistic Nursing Curriculum Guidelines can be viewed or downloaded starting October 15, 2017.

View or download document.

The Curriculum Guidelines reflects more than two years of work by AHNCC in concert with AHNA. The authors have years of experience with Holistic Nursing practice, education, research, and administration. Reviewers include Holistic Nurse experts from the several groups including the AHNCC and AHNA Boards,  AHNCC Endorsed Program Faculty, Nurse Theorists, Nurse Leaders, and others. To read related material that preceded this work click here. 

The FOUNDATIONS, COMPETENCIES, AND CURRICULAR GUIDELINES FOR BASIC TO DOCTORAL HOLISTIC NURSING EDUCATION builds on AACN’s Essentials of Basic and Graduate Education, and is designed to describe the why, what, and when of Holistic Nursing Education. The document provides standardized curriculum guidelines that inform nurses how to practice person-centered care; use the sciences of holism, health, wellness, and wellbeing to understand the individual’s worldview; and ensure that they know how to practice self-care that will help them grow, learn, and become the most they can be so they are able to create energy-based connections with others.

The First Edition of the Curriculum Guidelines will be available for complimentary download through 2018. Edition 2 will include revisions based on input from colleagues and selected Tool Kits currently under development. We anticipate that Edition 2 will be available early spring 2019 for digital download and/or a hard copy for a minimal fee. Availability will be announced here and in AHNA’s eNewsletter.


Comments and questions are welcome. Post them here, and we will respond as soon as possible.

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 Kay Sandor - Fishing
Kay Sandor loving life as she enjoys fishing – one of her favorite pastimes.
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Kay Sandor always has a smile on her face. It is evident she is at peace with her life and passionate about her beliefs.
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Dr. Sandor has been involved with holistic nursing for almost 20 years. Although she was drawn to a holistic philosophy and practice later in her career; she continues to practice in mental health settings and hospice settings yet today. The core essentials of holistic nursing are woven into her practice and research, her communication, self-care, and care for others. The Holistic Core Essentials are:
• Philosophy and Education
• Ethics, Theories, and Research
• Self-Care
• Communication, Therapeutic Environment and Cultural Competence
• Caring Process

Her career path has been varied over the years and eventually led her to think differently about nursing and how she could offer support for the patient who intuitively and ultimately knew how to best care for their own minds, bodies, and spirits.

When Kay started out, she worked in critical care. She found the energy (adrenalin) of the work environment was satisfying at first. However, after several years, she began to feel dissonance at some of the futile efforts to keep people alive at any cost. The cost was great for the patient, their families, and the nurses and other professional health care providers

At that point in her career, she sought additional education for end-of-life care. She attended End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) courses taught by Betty Ferrell and others and returned to the University of Texas Medical Branch and shared what she learned with staff nurses and students. Kay also attended the University of Houston Clear Lake to complete a Masters level program in Clinical Psychology and get licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Dr. Sandor continued to seek additional education and attended the Metta Institute “End of Life Care Practitioner Program” with Frank Ostaseski. In addition, she attended the “Being with Dying” course at Upaya Zen Center with Roshi Joan Halifax. These three programs and their nationally and internationally known teachers have had a profound influence on Dr. Sandor’s ability to care for herself and others (especially those who are about to die and in transition). They are Betty Farrell, Frank Ostaseski, and Roshi Joan Halifax.

Although Dr. Sandor has many educational credentials and two licenses (RN and LPC), she states she values the Advanced Holistic Nursing-Board Certified (AHN-BC®) Credential.

After she and several of her colleagues at the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing (UTMB SON) got certified, they saw the importance of incorporating holistic values into the nursing curriculum. Even though they were already involved in a very holistic program incorporating the core values of holistic nursing was culminated with this endorsement program. Once the program was finalized, the school sought and achieved endorsement by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.

She got certified in 2002 and was faculty at UTMB SON until 2013. She recently re-certified for another 5 years. Kay continues to emphasize to young nurses and graduates from endorsed schools that they can sit for their certification examination as soon as they receive their nursing license. More and more hospitals require certification and holistic nursing certification is valued.

Dr. Sandor serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (credentialing organization). She is the chair of several committees and during her four years as a Board Member held the positions of President-elect, President, Past President, and Treasurer, She states she loves the fact she can connect with kindred spirits; and check in with Leaders from Endorsed Schools, which continues to be her passion.

She tries to attend every American Holistic Nurses Association (membership organization) annual meeting every year In addition she attends as many presentations as possible to receive CE for her nursing license and re-certification.

Kay lives in Texas, with her life partner Gary; where they are avid sailors. Dr. Sandor sees patients three days a week in her Psychotherapy Practice
Besides fishing and sailing, this busy lady is an active Rotarian (ten years) where she is Chair of the Vulnerable Populations Committee. This group holds a free bicycle helmet giveaway annually. For the past 18 years, Kay chaired the Neighborhood Community Garden, one of her favorite activities.

Although her schedule is demanding, Kay always takes time to meet new people and welcome them with open arms.

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AHNCC now has new programs available for Certificants to access their certification information.
On our web site, you can create a password and log in to your records (upper right part of the screen) using our secure provider Caspio.
Once logged in, you will be able to:
– View and update personal information (mailing address, email address, license information, etc.)
– View your AHNCC certification information (certification number, expiration date, etc.)
– View, add, and update CE records. (This information is only required if your recertification application is audited, but can be updated at any time.)
– View, add, and update your education records.
Some earlier information provided on paper applications and recertification applications is not available online. (The information is kept as scanned history.) We are working towards a total online recertification process. Until that time, recertification applications from our web site must still be used, but much of the information can be submitted with these new programs.
If you have any questions or issues, please contact us at

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 Barb Picciano
Barb Picciano didn’t begin her career as a nurse — she worked as a dental assistant and nursing assistant. However, she has an insatiable curiosity for all areas of health care and her journey continued in various roles at the Cleveland Clinic. Her wide range of experiences included work as a Pediatric ICU Nursing Assistant; Neurosurgery Staff Nurse; Quality and Accreditation Manager in the Rehab Institute; Coordinator first, then the Director of the Healing Services, in the Office of Patient Experience, and currently she is the Manager of Healing Services and Code Lavender, Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care.
Picciano claims she approached her career without a particular direction but eventually ended up where her heart is offering holistic healing to staff, patients and their family members as needed. Early in her career she had a mentor who was practicing holistic nursing. Barb reports her mentor sought her out due to holistic activities she was offering on her days off. This mentee relationship helped Barbie to move forward and join the holistic nurse community. She eventually got certified through AHNCC and says knowing what she does now, she certainly would have been certified earlier in her career but the focus was on program development at first. The certification helped her to provide validation of her and her team’s practice to the large healthcare community watching the evolution of holistic care at the bedside.

During her journey she has been recognized as a respected leader with an extensive, well rounded set of skills in management, strategic planning, and program development with the successful record of building multiple teams. Barbie’s team participated in a pilot study where staff teams were able to bring holistic care to the bedside. This program was the first in the country to approach holistic healing as a partnership with the patient, healing services and spiritual team. As the program model was developed it expanded to include patients, their family members and caregiver staff. The inclusion of the staff members was a particularly driven factor in providing holistic care in acute care setting. The staff support factor is now a central focus of the entire enterprise and the team she works with are very in tune with ways to help.

This focus on staff support with holistic tools was the birth of Code Lavender: the holistic rapid response model that provides on-the-spot care in weaving of care into the workplace. The program has been well-received, and Barbie reports at times caregivers express immense gratitude for such overwhelming support. Code Lavender provides a much needed, appreciated and holistic model of care for caregivers in a timely manner to an emotional event. The Code Lavender program also exemplifies a partnership model with employee assistance and wellness departments in the enterprise.

With background in Healing Touch™, Reiki, HBLU, holistic coaching, holistic nursing and holistic stress management, Barbie also provides training enhancement for the Cleveland Clinic Caregiver teams such as classes in Non Pharmacologic Pain Management, Self-Care for the Caregiver, Interdisciplinary Holistic Care Education Program, and many more educational opportunities. Her passion is not only to provide a patient experience that addresses the whole person and their families, but to also support caregivers in their roles and workplace, and educate them about self-care, holistic practice and healing modalities. The programs and educational opportunities are also offered to all region hospitals in her system and the teambuilding continues throughout. Looking forward, she anticipates innovative models to enhance the team’s availability utilizing technology to enhance and reach team goals and the needs of those they serve.

If you want to learn more, Ms. Picciano provides consultation about Code Lavender. You may contact her at: or 216-444-5131.

More information on Code Lavenders can be found at or at