ICANA

International Council of Anthroposophic Nursing Associations

Introduction

The International Forum for Anthroposophic Nursing, which represents national professional anthroposophic nursing organizations worldwide, has adopted these Guidelines in order to articulate the principles of competent nursing practice extended by anthroposophy. Anthroposophic nursing developed with anthroposophic medicine at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, PhD, and Ita Wegman, MD, established anthroposophic medicine at the School of Spiritual Science in Dornach, Switzerland. The Medical Section of the School coordinates, develops and documents the worldwide activities in anthroposophic medicine. Within the Medical Section, the International Forum for Anthroposophic Nursing represents the interests of professional nursing.

The basis of anthroposophic nursing is to know and understand human beings in illness and health and in their natural and social environment. Illness is considered to arise from an imbalance between, and among, functions and forces, and health is the restoration of the physical capacity of integration.

The aim with an anthroposophic approach is to encourage patients’ personal responsibility and self-development in illness and in health. Nursing creates space for new opportunities to be brought to realization when illness, disability and death are part of life.

Professional anthroposophic nursing always requires government-approved nursing qualifications. Anthroposophic nurses must therefore meet the national nursing standards in their country of practice.

Guiding Principles of Anthroposophic Nursing

The principles for anthroposophic nursing are in the spirit of the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum, taking into account and recognizing the professional ethics of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Anthroposophic nurses recognize the connection between the natural world and moral capacities and integrity and take this into account in every instance in clinical practice. They see every human being as a unique spiritual entity in continuous development.

Anthroposophic nursing has a scientific basis. Clinical research and knowledge in nursing and therapeutic work has been evolved and developed by experts in anthroposophic nursing from the 1920’s - originally in collaboration with Dr Ita Wegman.

The anthroposophic nurse:

  • Is sensitive to the individual in her/his unique social and cultural context and works towards the development of a healthy and supportive environment
  • Understands that illness, disability and death have significance in the biography of the individual is well as for the community to which he or she belongs
  • Ensures the dignity and freedom of each individual
  • Ensures informed consent in relation to the acceptance and provision of nursing services.
  • Commits to integrity in every situation
  • Understands the scope as well as the limits of her/his knowledge and skills. Collaboration is enabled with colleagues in the best interest of those being supported
  • Recognizes the challenges and distress of contemporary life and actively considers this in every aspect of life and work
  • Considers the impact of nursing interventions on social and ecological systems and aims for a sustainable use of resources
  • Understands that human beings are a main cause for disturbances of health and the destruction of the natural and social environment
  • As a health professional, the anthroposophic nurse carries a consciousness and responsibility for care and recovery in the context of this interdependency
  • Considers that all life – whether plant, animal or human – is in mutual relationship and interdependent on many levels. As such, all forms of life including genetic material should be protected from use as economic resources subject to exploitation

Education

Education in anthroposophic nursing follows the successful completion of nursing registration according to the national system and regulations. Programs consist of a theoretical and a clinical component and involve formal assessment. Courses in anthroposophic nursing are certified according to Guidelines for Certification from the International Anthroposophic Nursing Forum in the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum. (See Appendix One)

Anthroposophic Nursing Certificate

The International Anthroposophic Nursing Forum in the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum will issue an anthroposophic nursing certificate if the above criteria are met or will endorse certification by an accredited nursing program.

Continuing education in anthroposophic nursing

Anthroposophic nurses recognize the need for continuing education in both general and anthroposophic nursing.

Further education in anthroposophic nursing involves both ongoing individual study and critical dialogue and peer review with colleagues.

Active mutually supportive collegial relationships enable mentoring, sharing and deepening of knowledge and practice. There is an inherent individual and collective responsibility for the accountable activity of anthroposophic nursing within these Guidelines.

Professional framework

The professional framework of an anthroposophic nurse is defined mainly by his or her professional qualification and possible specialization(s) and within each country’s guidelines for practice.

Anthroposophic nurses help those in need of care to understand their life situation when unwell or disabled and to manage it in a way that is appropriate for them. In particular they will support individuals to discover the potential for change and transformation inherent in the illness or disability and to bring this to realization.

Anthroposophic nurses work on the basis of anthroposophic medicine and its view of the human being and of illness. Education in anthroposophic nursing provides practical experience with anthroposophic medicines and therapies. These enable collaboration at a deeper level with health professionals in the field of anthroposophic medicine.

Anthroposophic nurses actively contribute their perspective and expertise in the therapeutic team. This broadens insight into the significance which illness, suffering and therapy have for patients in their particular sphere of life.

Conclusion

These professional guidelines represent the minimum requirement for competent anthroposophic nursing practice. They must be adapted to the evolving professional identity and an acute understanding of contemporary issues.

These Guidelines were adopted by the International Anthroposophic Nursing Forum in the Medical Section of the School of Spiritual Science and the currently existing national anthroposophic nursing organizations world-wide on 2008-09-17.

Dornach, 17. September 2008
Signed by IFAN Members