What is it about?

The aim of this study was to explore nurses’ knowledge and attitudes toward the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients in a palliative care setting. A descriptive qualitative approach was used in this study. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 nurses recruited using purposive sampling. The data were analyzed using an inductive semantic approach.

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Why is it important?

Thematic analysis identified that nurses possess limited knowledge of CAM. Nurses were skeptical toward CAM and less confident to recommend its use. Four main themes (and two subthemes) emerged: Understanding of CAM, Hesitative Attitudes, Personal Experience, and Preferences in Learning about CAM. There is a need to integrate CAM topics into nursing education programs in order to develop nurses’ knowledge and build positive attitudes toward CAM use. Sufficient knowledge and positive attitudes toward CAM would support safety and quality of care in management of patients with cancer who use or are contemplating using CAM.


This is the first Indonesian study to use quali- tative methods in order to explore nurses’ knowl- edge and attitudes toward complementary therapies for adult patients with cancer. Through recounting their nursing experiences, the study participants revealed their familiarity with particular CAM available in Indonesia that is frequently used by patients with cancer to support their well-being. However, a lack of credible information sources, education programs, seminars, and scientific research presented barriers for nurses seeking to improve their knowledge. As a result, the partici- pants developed knowledge about CAM through personal experiences, while nurses in developed countries are able to improve their knowledge via formal and reliable education, seminars, and work- shops. Moreover, the participants were not confi- dent in recommending CAM due to lack of knowledge and evidence regarding their efficacy and safety. Accordingly, this study suggests that knowledge development would help nurses confi- dently provide adequate information to patients with cancer regarding CAM. Therefore, seminars, workshops, and scientific journals about CAM should be provided for nurses caring for oncology patients who are interested in using CAM.

Dr Dean Whitehead
Flinders University

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This page is a summary of: Nurses’ Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Adult Patients With Cancer in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia: A Qualitative Study, Journal of Holistic Nursing, November 2018, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0898010118811047.
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