Undergraduate Nursing Students' Knowledge and Perceptions of Alternative and Complementary Therapies

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Carie Braun, Nursing


Nurses, along with other health care providers, consumers, insurers, and legislators, have demonstrated an interest in the research and use of alternative/complementary therapies (Snyder & Lindquist, 1998). A/CTs include such modalities as acupuncture, herbal medicines, chiropractic care, and homeopathy. Little is known, however, about perceptions of nursing students and the impact of exposure to A/CTs and subsequent expectations about what should be taught in a nursing curriculum. Therefore, this study set out to answer the following research questions: How much do undergraduate nursing students currently know bout A/CTs? Which A/CTs, if any, should be included in nursing curricula and at what level? In order to answer these questions, this exploratory study was based on an anonymous cross-sectional self-report paper-pencil survey. The sample was drawn from undergraduate nursing students in two Midwest higher education institutions with one collective nursing department. The survey examines demographic information, general perception of A/CTs and utilization patterns and perceptions of individual therapies. Data analysis is descriptive and seeks to answer the research questions. This study has major implications for systematic curricular incorporation of A/CTs as appropriate to undergraduate Baccalaureate-level nursing students.

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