Letter to the Editor on "Nursing as a Context for Alternative/Complementary Modalities"

Complementary Therapies: Are These Really Nursing?

May 2, 2002
in response to Nursing as a Context for Alternative/Complementary Modalities

Dear Editor:

In "Nursing As a Context for Alternative/Complementary Modalities," Dr. Frisch reports that Registered Nurses (RNs) today are incorporating alternative/complementary modalities into their practice. This article prompted me to search the literature to see if there are research articles supporting the use of alternative therapies. I was reassured to learn that there are indeed research articles supporting the use of alternative therapies as compliments to medical treatment. I would like to offer several reasons why I believe nurses in the workplace should learn more about alternative and complimentary therapies.

The first reason is that increasingly consumers are incorporating alternative therapies into pain management and other treatments. Although these therapies are often beneficial, there may be side effects from these therapies that can interfere with other components of treatment. Nurses need to be knowledgeable about alternative therapies, their benefits and their side effects, so they can make the most appropriate therapeutic suggestions for their patients. Secondly, nurses need to know about therapies that people are using today so they can answer questions that patients will ask about the effectiveness of these modalities. Thirdly, nurses are seen by family, friends, and neighbors as resources for up-to-date information about health care. These people expect nurses to have current health care knowledge and are comfortable asking nurses health related-questions. I believe that nurses are in an excellent position to address and safely promote the use of alternative/complementary modalities in the practice of nursing if they make themselves knowledgeable about these interventions.

Francella Smoker
BSN Nursing Student
Armstrong Atlantic State University
Savannah, GA