The use of complementary and alternative medicine by nurses

Shonagh Buchan, Muhammad Shakeel, Aaron Trinidade, Duncan Buchan, Kim Ah-See

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common among patients attending the department of the authors of this article. With expanding roles of nurses in various clinics, the nurses are often asked for their advice on CAM use by their patients. CAM education is not part of the nursing curriculum in various parts of the world. The aim of this study was to establish the use of CAM by nurses along with their knowledge base and attitudes towards it.

METHODS: A questionnaire-based study based on the published literature was used among qualified nurses. The data were collected and analysed using SPSS for Windows.

RESULTS: The response rate was 86% (531/621; females were 91% and the mean age was 32 years (range 20-63). Eighty percent of the responders admitted to use of CAM and 41% were using CAM at the time. The most commonly mentioned CAM were massage, cod liver oil and cranberry juice. CAM was mostly used for relaxation, joint pain and urinary tract infection. Only five nurses believed CAM was not effective and 74% would recommend CAM use to others. Ninety-three percent of nurses did not have any formal education on CAM. Most nurses would consider some education on CAM to enable them to counsel their patients.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of CAM is high among nurses. As patients are increasingly relying on nurses for advice on its use, it is important for nurses to be educated about CAM in order to guide their patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-4, 676
JournalBritish Journal of Nursing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2012


  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Holistic Nursing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Scotland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


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