Nurses' use of professional distancing in the appropriation of CAM: a text analysis

Complement Ther Med. 2001 Sep;9(3):136-40. doi: 10.1054/ctim.2001.0463.


Despite the depth of interest in complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) within the nursing community, the intersection between nurses, nursing and CAM has largely avoided sociological analysis. This paper presents findings from one part of an ongoing exploratory study of how nurses present and interpret the apparent affinity of their profession with CAM. A text analysis of papers published from within the nursing community on CAM was conducted. Within the broad area of professional identity, differentiation and development, two dominant themes emerged from the analysis. Firstly, the use of professional distancing to underpin the legitimacy of the nursing/CAM axis; and second, the potential offered by the relationship for a reconstruction of lines of professional authority. As one dimension of the way in which nursing's intersection with CAM is being constructed and perpetuated, the relationship with medicine appears to be of significance and requires further attention.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Humans
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Professional Practice*
  • Publishing
  • Sociology