Attitudes Among Nurses Toward the Integration of Complementary Medicine Into Supportive Cancer Care

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Abstract

Purpose/Objectives:

To explore the attitudes of nurses treating patients with cancer regarding the use of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) therapies to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life (QOL).

Design:

Prospective and descriptive.

Setting:

12 hospital and community care settings in Israel.

Sample:

973 nurses working in oncology and non-oncology departments.

Methods:

A 26-item questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of nurses treating patients with cancer.

Main Research Variables:

Interest in CIM integration and training in supportive cancer care.

Findings:

Of the 973 nurses who completed the questionnaire, 934 expressed interest in integrating CIM into supportive cancer care. A logistic regression model indicated that nurses with a greater interest in integration tended to be older, believed that CIM improved patients' QOL, and had no structured postgraduate oncology training. Nurses who believed CIM to be beneficial for QOL-related outcomes were more likely to express interest in related training. The goals of such training include improving QOL-related outcomes, such as anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal symptoms, and pain.

Conclusions:

Most nurses working with patients with cancer are interested in the integration of CIM into supportive cancer care.

Implications for Nursing:

Most nurses would like to undergo training in CIM to supplement conventional care. CIM-trained integrative nurses can help promote the integration of patient-centered CIM therapies in supportive cancer care settings.

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