Which is the Most Important Role of the Nurse in Using Complementary and Alternative Therapies?
Nurses have access to a wide variety of therapies, but one question often arises: which role is most important for nurses when using complementary and alternative medicine?
The nurse’s role is to stay educated on the latest CAM treatments and techniques. Most importantly, nurses must explain the potential risks and advantages of each so patients can make educated decisions regarding their healthcare.
Registered nurses (RNs) often employ holistic nursing therapies as an alternative or complement to conventional medical approaches (cat). These may include acupuncture, chi gong, guided imagery, meditation, prayer, reiki, therapeutic touch, full spectrum light and crystals as well as electromagnetic fields and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Holistic nursing practices can have a beneficial impact on an individual’s body, mind and spirit. Nurses also play an integral role in helping clients enhance their quality of life by supporting them with stress management and anxiety reduction techniques.
Guided imagery is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that allows clients to create images in their mind and visualize how they want to feel, think or act. This can help relieve anxiety and stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system – responsible for relaxation – and increase positive feelings, thoughts or behaviors.
Massage therapy is a technique in which soft pressure is applied to specific parts of the client’s body to promote blood circulation and reduce pain. This treatment can be provided by either an accredited massage therapist or home care nurse, depending on where it’s administered.
Hatha yoga is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CAT) that uses slow, gentle movements to help clients relax and restore balance to their body. This therapy can be performed by either an experienced yoga instructor or home care nurse.
Healing Touch is a CAT that utilizes hand and foot massage for therapeutic purposes. Unlike injections, which may be necessary in certain conditions, this CAT could prove beneficial to those living with cancer as it helps reduce symptoms associated with the illness.
Ayurvedic medicine is another complementary and alternative therapy (CAT) that may be beneficial for some individuals with cancer. It has the potential to boost the immune system and relieve symptoms such as nausea or vomiting.
Aromatherapy is another CAT that may be beneficial to those living with cancer, as it helps improve their general sense of well-being. This therapy can be administered by either a licensed aromatherapist or home care nurse.
Nutrition supplements are another CAT that may be beneficial for some cancer patients. These can be purchased over the counter and typically contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other essential nutrients.
Recent studies have shown that nearly half of US State Boards of Nursing have adopted statements acknowledging the value and necessity of computer assisted therapy (CAT). These affirmations demonstrate how essential CAT is in patient care.
Many nurses lack the expertise or training necessary to give accurate advice regarding the safe and efficient use of CAT. This poses a problem for patients seeking information about these options.