Nurses' Knowledge and Treatment Beliefs: Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Pain Management

J Holist Nurs. 2019 Sep;37(3):248-259. doi: 10.1177/0898010118822212. Epub 2019 Jan 13.


Purpose: To examine the relationship between nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about medicines, in general, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and identify the predictors of referrals for pain management. Method: This descriptive, correlational study utilized an online survey to collect data from direct care nurses at a large medical center in southeastern United States. The online survey consisted of the Complementary and Alternative Medicines and Beliefs Inventory (CAMBI), the Beliefs about Medicine Questionnaire, and four open-ended questions. Referral data were obtained from the Information Management Department at this medical center. Results: Among the 218 nurses who completed the survey (15.12%), majority (85%) supported CAM use, but only 32% reported utilizing CAM therapies with patients. Medical surgical, emergency department, and perioperative nurses scored higher on their CAMBI total score and were more likely to refer for CAM therapies when compared with intensive care unit nurses. Conclusions: Beliefs about CAM specifically were not related to referrals for CAM therapies. This study suggests the need for further education on the nurse's role in CAM usage. Understanding the link between nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and treatment beliefs and their relationship to CAM usage provides direction for future educational interventions.

Keywords: alternative/complementary therapies; group/population; nurses (basic); pain and pain management; specific conditions; treatment beliefs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / psychology*
  • Complementary Therapies / standards
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires