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Nurses’ responses to people with cancer who use complementary and alternative medicine

Authors

  • Shou-Yu Cindy Wang RN, BSci, MNurs,

    Corresponding author
    1. PhD student, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; and Lecturer, School of Nursing, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
      Shou-Yu Wang, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Qld 4059, Australia. Email: cindyla_tw@yahoo.com
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  • Patsy Yates FRCNA, DipAppSci, MSocSci, PhD

    1. Professor, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Shou-Yu Wang, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation and School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Qld 4059, Australia. Email: cindyla_tw@yahoo.com

Abstract

There is a growing demand for complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) among people with cancer. This study aims to describe how nurses’ respond to people with cancer who use CAMs, and the factors which might contribute to these different responses. A grounded theory approach was used. Six semistructured interviews were conducted with nurses who were working in cancer settings. The core category which emerged from this study was ‘nurses’ responses towards patients who use CAMs’. Nurses respond in a variety of ways to patients who use CAMs. They include: open, sceptical and ambivalent responses. A range of factors which influence the way nurses respond were also identified. These include the ambiguous definitions of CAM, nurses’ personal philosophies, life experiences, evidence of the therapy’s effectiveness, impact on patients, the motives of patients who use CAM and organizational culture. Several implications for nursing education and practice are identified from these findings.

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