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Nurses’ utilisation of complementary therapies : a pilot study exploring scope of practice

journal contribution
posted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by M Wallis, Anita Peerson, J Young, S Parkinson, S Grant
The increasing use of complementary therapies (CTs) by the public requires nurses to be fully informed about the use and safety of these modalities. In addition, nurses need to be aware of what constitutes complementary therapy practice, its overlap with nursing practice and how to respond appropriately to patients' requests for access to and information about CTs. A pilot study that aimed to describe nurses' knowledge about, and the use of CTs was conducted in four hospitals in southeast Queensland, Australia. One hundred and twenty-nine nurses (65% response rate) of varying levels of qualification and expertise completed a questionnaire. Over 80% of the participants indicated that they engaged in some form of complementary therapy (CT) activity. The entire sample worked in acute care hospitals but 5% engaged in CTs while employed in a second job. These nurses worked in either individual private practice or a multidisciplinary clinic setting. Only 2% of the sample had formal qualifications in a specific CT. Many nurses seemed unsure about what should be defined as a CT. The most common CTs engaged in by nurses were massage, music therapy and relaxation techniques but some nurses also participated in acupuncture, acupressure, hypnotherapy and osteopathy. Some nurses were confused about the difference between CT and usual nursing care. In addition, there were knowledge deficits relating to institutional policies and professional standards. Our findings suggest that nurses require more education about the scope of CT and how it differs from nursing practice. Nurses also require access to clear policies about the safe use of CTs in specific practice settings and about appropriate referral of clients to complementary therapists with accredited qualifications.

History

Journal

Collegian

Volume

11

Issue

4

Pagination

19 - 25

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, Netherlands

ISSN

1322-7696

eISSN

1876-7575

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

200, Elsevier

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