Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Oncology Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes

M. Teresa Rojas-Cooley

Marcia Grant

complementary and alternative therapies
ONF 2009, 36(2), 217-224. DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.217-224

Purpose/Objectives: To describe oncology nurses' complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) knowledge and attitudes.

Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional.

Setting: A national medical center and research institute.

Sample: A random sample of 850 Oncology Nursing Society members who are RNs involved in direct care.

Methods: Respondents completed a demographic questionnaire and the Nurse Complementary and Alternative Medicine Knowledge and Attitude survey. Descriptive analysis was used to describe the participants' CAM knowledge and attitudes. In addition, participants' comments were transcribed and content analysis was conducted.

Main Research Variables: CAM knowledge and attitudes.

Findings: The participants' mean CAM knowledge score was 70%. Attitudes varied according to beliefs, practice, and role, but were positive overall.

Conclusions: Assessing oncology nurses' CAM knowledge is important for developing appropriate educational programs that will help nurses support and advocate for patients. In addition, assessing CAM attitudes will provide insight for realizing and sustaining robust changes to health care.

Implications for Nursing: Oncology nurses should be prepared with insightful CAM knowledge and attitudes to provide prudent and unbiased information to patients.

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