Meet Cathleen Kelly, RN, MSN – Owner of Holistic Horizons

What is the name of your company?

Holistic Horizons at Fiddlehead Grove Retreat and Healing Center

What exactly does your company do?

Integrative Health Consultations, Individual healing sessions using Reiki, Reflexology, Kundalini Yoga, and/or Pleiades Channeling. Classes in Reiki and Kundalini Yoga. Nature trails, facilitated Labyrinth meditation, Birdwatching, Hiking, and Group/Company Retreats available.

Why did you start this company?

To assist nurses in exploring holistic self-care as an option for preventing burnout, to realize their inner potential, and to understand the various career modalities accessible to holistically-oriented nurses.
I was disillusioned by the traditional approach and when I learned of the American Holistic Nurses Association‘s philosophy, my career was re-ignited.

What was the process like? Help us understand what it is like for a nurse to start their own business

I thoroughly enjoy the creative process of envisioning and naming the business. The nuts and bolts, not so much but I learned what was necessary and followed suggestions of business counselors (i.e. writing a business plan, getting a DBA certificate, sales tax certificate, and liability insurance). My favorite question from people was “Can a nurse do that (open a private practice)?”

What has the hardest thing been in starting your business?

Putting myself out there. Explaining what “Reiki” was about and how it would benefit “John Q.” was more challenging in 1999 than it is now. I still recall vividly the glassed-over eyes as I practiced my “spiel” from person to person at a networking event. Now, I have learned to explain modalities on a level that is meaningful to the audience.

What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your business?

  • Being my own boss and responsible for my own revenue.
  • The smile on a client’s face and the peace in their eyes after a healing session.
  • Clients that heed my advice and feel the benefits in their body and spirit and mind.

What would you say are the five most important resources for a nurse who wants to start their own business?

  1. NSO-nurse’s liability insurance
  2. Local Chamber of Commerce meetings 
  3. Local SBDC-small business development center with free mentors.
  4. Consistent self-care strategies.
  5. Like-minded nursing support/groups (e.g. AHNA for holistic nurses).

Do you have any exciting success stories to share with us?

Lots! The most exciting ones have a general theme of clients experiencing immediate relief of symptoms during or after a healing session. I remember teaching a dad how to feel for mineral deposits in his (4 year-old) daughter’s foot as I was demonstrating on her. She smiled a huge smile when I was done and her audible wheezing was less.

Do you have any unfortunate stories that you could share with us to prepare and warn us of the possible pitfalls of being a self-employed nurse?

When you don’t work, there is no income. Have a back-up plan but be careful not to swing too far to the “traditional” job as that can take your focus and energy away from the new venture. Balance is the key. Choose a back-up source of income that is in line with the new venture’s mission. E.g., I was “down-sized” from a moderate income supervisory position when I started, so I went to work for a homeopath at an alternative center and learned more about the existing practitioners and modalities in my community.

What do you want nurses to take away from this interview?

Don’t stretch yourself too thin. I had dreams of opening an organic vegetarian restaurant. I knew the community was ready, so I did that along with my healing practice in one amazing location. My health suffered and after four years I was so anemic from uterine hemorrhaging, I had a stroke. I took my own advice and spent two years healing naturally in semi-retirement, with the help of a hysterectomy. I went back to school during that time and earned a master’s degree as well as enrolling in yoga teacher training. I used the “enforced down time” as a way to re-create myself and enhance my vision of healing. I am stronger now physically, mentally, and emotionally and income is flowing easily and effortlessly. I love how the Universe works!

About Cathleen Kelly, RN, MSN (Holistic Nursing), BC-HN, Usui and Karuna Reiki Master, Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructorholistic horizon nurse


Cathleen Kelly is the Sole Proprietor and Founder of Holistic Horizons (1998), a private nurse-healer practice devoted to healing on all levels of body, mind, and spirit, located in West Monroe, New York.

Cathleen received her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from Keuka College and a Master of Science in Holistic Nursing from Westbrook University. She has over thirty years of experience in general medicine, intensive care, pediatrics, homecare, and Integrative Health Counseling. Cathleen is a Usui and Karuna Reiki Master and Kundalini Yoga instructor.

With determined passion, Ms. Kelly assists both medical professionals and lay persons to integrate aspects of healing, self-care, and intuition with traditional healthcare practices using practical, self-help tools. Interactive services provided at Holistic Horizons include Usui Reiki, Karuna Reiki, Reflexology, Channeled Healing, Meditation, Kundalini Yoga and Mantras, and Integrative Health Consultation.

Cathleen received her certification in Holistic Nursing in 1999, the first nurse in Central New York to become nationally board-certified. She has maintained her certification by attending conferences and educational training, including acting as a Lead Instructor for Foundations in Holistic Nursing Continuing Education Course and as a Networker for the American Holistic Nurses’ Association.

Cathleen is author of Recipes for Healthier Living, The Rainbow Octave, Pleiades Child, The Sloth and The Dragonfly, Stardust: A Collection of Prose and Poetry, and Integrative Insights: Reconnecting Human Nature blog.

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