American Holistic Nurses Association

AHNA Announces 2012 Holistic Nurse of the Year: Dr. Helen Erickson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN


Flagstaff, AZ -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/07/2012 --The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA, annually recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of holistic nursing with the Holistic Nurse of the Year (HNY) award. AHNA proudly honored Dr. Helen Erickson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN at their 32nd annual conference with the 2012 HNY award for her contributions in furthering the practice of holistic nursing and bringing caring and healing to the forefront of nursing practice. The HNY award is presented annually to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of holistic nursing.

“Dr. Erickson’s work and life serve as exemplars for what it means to be a holistic nurse, both personally and professionally. Her holistic and comprehensive approach fulfills nursing’s commitment to clients and our role in society,” according to AHNA President Glenda Christiaens, PhD, RN, AHN-BC.

Dr. Erickson started her nursing career after graduating from the Saginaw General Hospital School of Nursing with a diploma in 1957. Dr. Erickson later went on to obtain her B.S.N. in 1974, her M.S. in nursing in 1976, and her Ph.D. in educational psychology in 1984, all from the University of Michigan. Dr. Erickson has demonstrated commitment to the certification of holistic nurses and the development of holistic nursing certification criteria, and she has participated in writing holistic nursing certification exam questions. She has served on the AHNA Research Committee, and has provided the keynote address for numerous universities and professional association meetings including AHNA.

AHNA has awarded Dr. Erickson a lifetime honorary membership for her contributions in promoting the specialty of holistic nursing. In addition, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as a fellow in 1996, was awarded the Faculty Teaching Award from the University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing in 1990, was inducted into the ADARA, Women’s Leadership Society at the University of Michigan in 1982, and also in 1982 received the Sigma Theta Tau (Rho Chapter) Award for Excellence in Nursing.

Dr. Erickson is the immediate Past-Chair of the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation, which is the only international credentialing body for holistic nursing. AHNCC focuses on certifying nurses who provide quality holistic care that is based on a person-centered relationship with the client, emphasizing client perceptions and life experiences as central to the human caring process, with the holistic nurse as an instrument of healing. Under Dr. Erickson’s leadership AHNCC strengthened its commitment to values that enhance professional practice and contribute to competency in holistic nursing practice, as described in Holistic Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (American Holistic Nurses Association, American Nurses Association, 2007).

As a visionary for holistic health and caring/ healing, she models the mission of AHNA. Dr. Erickson’s establishment of the Society for the Advancement of Modeling and Role-Modeling (SAMRM) has been another means to support the Erickson’s theory and provide resources for furthering the work of holistic nurses. Early on she recognized the need “to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection” in her life in order to be “an instrument of healing and a facilitator in the healing process.” In 1983, Dr. Erickson co-authored the text, Modeling and Role Modeling: A Theory and Paradigm for Nursing. Dr. Erickson has edited and written chapters in two additional books, Modeling and Role-Modeling: A View from the Client’s World (2006) and Exploring the Interface between the Philosophy and Discipline of Holistic Nursing: Modeling and Role-Modeling at Work (2010). In addition to the books mentioned above, Dr. Erickson has an impressive publication record and she has published on topics such as states of coping, adaptation to stress, political aspects of compassionate care, Modeling and Role-Modeling (MRM) theory, holistic healing, philosophy and the theory of holism, and the importance of holistic nursing. She has also conducted more than 14 research projects during the course of her nursing career, with much emphasis on self-care and physical well-being.

Dr. Erickson worked for several years in clinical practice prior to becoming a nurse educator. She taught holistic nursing at the University of Michigan, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Texas at Austin. She served in academic administrative positions at both the University of South Carolina and the University of Texas. Dr. Erickson was awarded Professor Emeritus status at the University of Texas at Austin upon her retirement in 1997. AHNA is pleased to honor Dr. Helen Erickson as the 2012 Holistic Nurse of the Year. Learn more about the HNY award and AHNA at:

Contact Info:
Email -
Phone - (231) 869-3199

Mailing address - Dr. Helen Erickson, 406 Trailridge Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613
Click here to read Helen Lorraine (Cook) Erickson's Biosketch

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) is a non-profit membership association for nurses and other holistic healthcare professionals. Founded in 1981, AHNA is the definitive voice for holistic nursing, and promotes the education of nurses, other healthcare professionals, and the public in all aspects of holistic caring and healing, serving as a bridge between conventional medicine and complementary and alternative healing practices. Holistic nursing is recognized by the American Nurses Association as an official nursing specialty with defined scope and standards of practice. AHNA’s mission is to advance holistic nursing through community building, advocacy, research and education. For more information: