Complementary therapies and healing practices: Faculty/student beliefs and attitudes and the implications for nursing education

Linda L. Halcón, Linda L. Chlan, Mark Jo Kreitzer, Barbara J. Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe the knowledge and attitudes of nursing faculty and students (BSN and MS) regarding complementary/alternative therapies (C/AT) and their integration into nursing practice. Implications for curricular and faculty development were also identified. A cross-sectional survey (n = 170) of graduating BSN students (n = 73) and MS and PhD students (n = 47) and faculty (n = 50) was conducted in a university-based nursing program. The self-administered questionnaire contained 134 forced choice items. Questions assessed attitudes and knowledge about training in, personal use of, perceived barriers to, and intent to integrate C/AT into clinical practice. Over 95 percent of the students and faculty agreed that clinical care should integrate the best of conventional and C/AT practices. Few had received formal C/AT education; the highest number had received some education about massage, music, prayer/spiritual healing, and therapeutic/healing touch. They desired more education but not necessarily the skills to perform these therapies themselves. Faculty and students expressed positive attitudes about incorporating C/AT into curricula and nursing practice. Current knowledge lags behind interest, however, suggesting a situation ripe for change. The most important perceived barrier to incorporation was lack of evidence. Curricular change is needed to fully integrate C/AT in nursing programs at all levels; faculty development and nursing research is needed to facilitate these changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Alternative therapies
  • Complementary medicine
  • Nursing education
  • Nursing faculty
  • Nursing students


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