Alternative Medicine in Nursing Practice

The integration of the concepts and approaches of complementary and alternative medicine requires proper introduction through educational and investigational teaching (Rice, 2006). Understanding the full range of theories underlying CAM therapies, their historical background, and how diverse members of the population react to them are among the critical information needed to integrate properly CAM within my current nursing practice outside the normal healthcare setting.

The chief reason for my pursuance of a nursing career was to work in an empathetic manner despite the stressful environment involved. Practicing caring naturally is a process that brings considerable pleasure to any nurse, as it serves as a channel to express inborn talents (Bowling, 2007). Integrating CAM techniques into nursing requires proper practice to ensure efficiency and no side effects.

My personal experiences as a nurse

Some of the techniques I have successfully incorporated into my practice include energy analysis, guided imagery, massage, and aromatherapy. The skills acquired after training have enabled the application of these techniques in virtually all healing environments that surround me, for example, at home with relatives, private services, and the clinical setting while guiding breast reconstruction patients to recovery.

CAM techniques refer to techniques that are not commonly accepted or available in modern medicine practices (Rice, 2006). Alternative practices are usually employed separately, while complimentary medicines are typically combined with conventional medicine to facilitate the healing process.

Communication between surgeon, nurse, and client

Ensuring proper communication between the surgeon and the client is a fundamental component of the practice. The client’s health history and their surrounding information help give clues on effective techniques to be applied, and the effort required in its administration. The formulated theories for the different techniques provide guidelines on the rewards and drawbacks of their application (Rice, 2006). They provide the perceptions and viewpoints of how society observes nursing care, thus bringing out the significance of the CAM practices.

The process usually begins as soon as the client arrives for treatment. The initial contact with the client provides an opportunity to visually scan the client on health and hygiene issues (Rice, 2006). I then continue to seek further evidence on the observations made through dialogue and closer observations. Some values are observed in certain religions and traditions hence the necessity of the client’s background research. Understanding the world of the client and how they perceive their health is necessary for the nursing practice.

The widening of the nursing profession through the diversification in the medical field has brought several advantages which have greatly improved my experiences. The transition from understanding the existing theories and their actual implementation intensified familiarity with CAMs. This is in response to the increasing consumer preferences for alternative methods of treatment. The clients also tend to prefer to go to hospitals in which the healthcare givers are trained on such treatment techniques (Rice, 2006).

Holistic nursing process

Embracing the process of healing a patient from birth to death is part of the holistic nursing process. It is obligatory to distinguish the consequence of dealing with the whole body from individual body parts which have undergone an operation. Understanding body relationships against the vicinity is part of the holistic process (Bowling, 2007).

With the above principles in mind, the encouragement of the expression of both negative and valuable feelings was applicable. The caring process helped in the gratification of essential human needs which are sometimes lacking in post-surgery patients. I am thus able to instill faith and optimism in my clients.

Challenges experienced

New opportunities in any medical field frequently provide fresh challenges. There are several challenges experienced in the attempt to integrate some of the CAM techniques into practice. Personally, there is a need to be more vigilant in client behavior and how they administer the diverse CAM techniques. Some patients are blinded by advertisements on alternative medicine remedies and hence choose to personally treat themselves (Cowen & Moorhead, 2006). This often provides problems with the institution in case the patient was operated on with my colleagues. It is my responsibility as a nurse to ensure the proper healing of patients before and after the surgical procedure, but it is undoubtedly hard to monitor the progress of all the clients.

Claims of inappropriate surgery procedures and receiving the blame for the client’s mistakes usually make the nursing process strenuous. Some techniques require guidance by specialists to promote the safe use of CAM procedures. When clients use some of these techniques without guidance, the nurse will always be answerable as she must lead clients in the safe use of the techniques (Bowling, 2007). Testimonials by successful users of CAM, most of which are fabricated to boost product sales, push clients to self-diagnosis without apt information. This may result in further pushing forward the date for formal treatment in the belief of getting healed through CAM. Some of our patients undergo these procedures before surgery. When done inappropriately they often disrupt the outlined surgical procedures (Cowen & Moorhead, 2006). Ensuring that I protect clients from damaging themselves has been a challenge in efficiently integrating the alternative and complementary healing techniques in my practice.

Positive changes I have experienced

More benefits of these practices are being discovered through scientific studies. This means that they will continue being implemented and incorporated into the nursing practice. It has been an empowering and incredible experience implementing holistic nursing. My perception and value of the profession have thus increased as I strive to provide the best care to promote healing. I learned lessons on the importance of harmony in the form of a pleasing environment, effective programs, and a sense of satisfaction. As a result, I have been able to achieve harmony in myself and learn to cope with work-related stress. Providing professional care, while understanding the beliefs of other cultures and permissible CAM practices, was among the enlightening experiences.

Benefits of harmony

Harmony has traditionally been associated with music. However, its nursing relationship cannot be ignored. It characterizes the smooth relationship between the environment and the mind, body, and soul of humans. Creating a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual balance within a client’s system creates the necessary harmony in the body needed for healing (Keegan, 2001). It is a necessary component of both personal and work-related relationships. The relationship of breast reconstruction clients, based on mutual respect and overall concern for their well-being has provided the necessary peace of mind to provide my services. This positive change has significantly grown my interest in other CAM techniques.


CAM focuses on healing the whole body and not just treating ailing body parts (Bowling, 2007). It is significantly less expensive than the conventional treatment methods. They have traditionally provided treatment methods that combat pain and stress. Proper instruction by a specialist in their use and more research on their values and shortcomings must however be intensified.


Bowling, A. (2007). Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis. (2nd ed.). New York: Demos medical publishing.

Cowen, P. & Moorhead, S. (2006). Current issues in nursing. (7th ed). New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Keegan, L. (2001). Healing with complementary and alternative therapies. Ohio: Cengage Learning.

Rice, R. (2006). Home care nursing practice: concepts and application. (4th ed). New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.