[Storing Complementary Therapy Knowledge to Expand Nursing Roles]

Author: Ru-Ping Lee1
1 PhD, RN, Professor, Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Taiwan, ROC. fish@gms.tcu.edu.tw.
Conference/Journal: Hu Li Za Zhi
Date published: 2023 Dec 1
Other: Volume ID: 70 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 4-5 , Special Notes: doi: 10.6224/JN.202312_70(6).01. , Word Count: 486

Incorporating complementary therapy into nursing care is common in clinical practice. Complementary therapy is a non-pharmacological approach used to help address symptoms that cannot be alleviated entirely by medication. These complementary therapies often serve specific purposes, and nurses are the ideal candidates to administer them due to their patient care expertise. However, before applying any complementary therapy, it is essential to understand the potential medical safety, ethical, and legal considerations involved in the therapeutic process. Furthermore, administrators should strengthen their knowledge and implementation of these therapies to ensure safety during use. Complementary therapy facilitates the management of symptoms that are not manageable by medication alone. For example, aromatherapy and light therapy are employed in clinical settings to alleviate anxiety, depression, insomnia, and pain (Farrar & Farrar, 2020; Fong et al., 2023), while acupuncture, acupressure, and qigong are utilized to relieve pain in cancer patients (Behzadmehr et al., 2020). Although complementary therapy is gradually gaining acceptance in clinical practice for mitigating patient discomfort, it has yet to achieve widespread adoption, with the culture within healthcare institutions and the attitudes of healthcare professionals being significant factors influencing adoption willingness. Research findings indicate that the primary factor influencing the use of complementary therapy by nurses is lack of relevant knowledge (Siedlecki, 2021). Elements of complementary therapy have been incorporated into the blueprint of the National Council Licensure Examination - Registered Nurse in Western countries. Thus, nursing education programs in the United States are now required to integrate complementary therapy into their curricula (Helms, 2006). The above emphasizes the importance of equipping nursing professionals with crucial knowledge and skills related to complementary therapy. When integrated appropriately and safely into patient care, complementary therapy not only enhances the quality and status of nursing but also demonstrates the irreplaceable role of nurses in assisting patients manage symptoms that are not fully manageable by medication alone. As modern medical technology and treatment modalities continue to grow in complexity, nursing professionals must maintain an open-minded perspective and be willing to adapt to and learn the diverse knowledge and skills required in today's era of interdisciplinary. Implementing complementary therapy requires relevant healthcare knowledge for symptom relief as well as familiarity with the related principles and skills. Complementary therapy often involves more extended contact with the recipients of care, making it safer and more appropriate when administered by nursing professionals who have received medical training. In this column, three articles discuss common complementary therapeutic practices such as aromatherapy, the non-invasive Chinese medicine meridian-and-acupoint intervention, and light therapy. Each article introduces the principles of these therapies and their application in nursing. It is hoped that the information provided on these three complementary therapies will help nursing professionals find reference points for expanding and strengthening their interdisciplinary nursing practices. Thus, the inherent advantages of the nursing profession may be leveraged to further enhance and implement the professional nursing process and to maximize the roles and capabilities of the nursing profession.

PMID: 37981877 DOI: 10.6224/JN.202312_70(6).01