Personal use of complementary and alternative therapies by critical care nurses

Ruth Lindquist, Mary Fran Tracy, Kay Savik

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Critical care settings are stressful to nurses, and exposure over time may contribute to stress-related symptoms and illnesses. Nurses' personal use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAT) may lessen the effects of stress and contribute to their overall well-being and health maintenance. A national survey of critical care nurses who are members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses revealed that a majority (96.4%) of critical care nurse respondents were using one or more CAT for personal use or had consulted a provider for CAT therapy. The most common therapies used were exercise, diet, massage, and prayer (or spiritual direction). Nurses' personal use of CAT was related to having knowledge of more types of CAT, use of more CAT in practice, a perception of benefits of greater numbers of CAT, more openness to use, more types of CAT recommended to patients, and a perception of more barriers to use in their institutional setting. Data support our model that links nurses' personal use to use in practice. Educational programs to promote nurses' knowledge and personal use of CAT could lead to an increase in appropriate use of CAT in professional practice and potential benefits to critical care patients and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalCritical care nursing clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003


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