The Integrative Therapy Nurse: A Valuable Player in Symptom Management

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Abstract

With the support of colleagues and hospital management, the author, an RN with board certification in therapeutic massage and bodywork, developed and implemented the role of the integrative therapy nurse on the spinal cord injury and disorders unit at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The goal of this initiative was to provide patients with additional nonpharmacologic options for addressing their symptoms through the creation of an integrative therapy nurse role within the existing interdisciplinary team of physicians, NPs, psychologists, registered dieticians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and staff nurses. This article outlines the process of creating this role, discusses implications for practice, and reports the outcomes of three years of its implementation. The outcomes of decreased pain and increased relaxation among the veterans who participated in this initiative warrant its further expansion to additional clinical settings.

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