The application of specific cultural practices and customs in healthcare is common knowledge within these cultures; however, in traditional circles, it may be difficult to understand these practices and they might be mistaken for negative behaviors. In the case of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, it is important to understand the impact of these beliefs and customs and how they are utilized across many cultures. Those who practice CAM therapies may experience difficulties when they are out of their cultural boundaries and their comfort zones, particularly when they work with nurses who are unfamiliar with these practices. Therefore, Riverbend City’s initiative to educate nurses and support CAM therapies is essential to the discovery of cultural identifiers and expectations that support positive outcomes for all patients, regardless of cultural background (Case Example). The following discussion will address these objectives in greater detail and will emphasize the importance of CAM therapies and their application within different cultures. These efforts will demonstrate that CAM is an important and meaningful approach to healthcare practice for many cultures for which the appropriate knowledge base should be obtained.
CAM Therapies play a significant role in nursing knowledge and education regarding different cultures and related practices and customs. It is important for nurses to be aware of these practices and how they impact healthcare treatments when patients from diverse cultures are examined. In many instances, there is a significant disparity between patient knowledge of CAM and nursing knowledge and expertise in this area (Zhang et.al, 2012). Therefore, it is likely that nurses working with patients from diverse backgrounds who routinely practice CAM may be easily misunderstood or dismissed on the basis of their beliefs in these non-traditional therapies (Zhang et.al, 2012). With a primary focus on pharmacological therapies in Western medicine, there is limited focus and knowledge regarding CAM, and therefore, it is likely that many nurses are unable to effectively communicate with patients from these cultures, particularly when language barriers are present (Zhang et.al, 2012).
Some clinical practices are more open to CAM therapies than others, depending on their level of knowledge, experience, and comfort with the subject matter (Hsu et.al, 2011). From a nursing perspective, it is important to acquire the basic knowledge of CAM so that when patients who exercise these practices are seen, nurses are more comfortable in providing them with the appropriate care and cultural sensitivity (Hsu et.al, 2011). These findings also suggest that some healthcare providers should at least consider CAM therapies as part of their standardized practices in order to ensure that patients of different cultures experience greater comfort and are more receptive to treatment as provided by nurses and other practitioners (Hsu et.al, 2011). Therefore, it is important to identify areas where nurses might be provided with additional insight and guidance into CAM therapies so that individuals such as those in Riverbend City are provided with culturally appropriate care and treatment (Hsu et.al, 2011).
CAM therapies have grown in importance in many culturally diverse communities; nonetheless, although there has been a greater acceptance of these therapies across the general population, much confusion remains in regards to their effectiveness (Frass et.al, 2012). As a result, it is likely that there are significant challenges in many nursing practice communities with respect to the application of these therapies rather than traditional pharmacological approaches (Frass et.al, 2012). Nurses must ultimately recognize the importance of these therapies to patients from different cultures and their hesitancy to participate in traditional medical treatments in many cases (Frass et.al, 2012). Nurses and patients from diverse cultures must establish an understanding of these CAM therapies and their application in treating patients from these population groups (Frass et.al, 2012).
The utilization of CAM therapies must be explored in greater detail from a nursing perspective in order to achieve high quality patient care and treatment when patients from diverse cultures prefer these methods (Azaizeh et.al, 2010). In this context, complementary and alternative medicine must be addressed respectfully with patients from diverse cultures so that both sides of the issue are treated equally (Azaizeh et.al, 2010). For patients seeking treatment with CAM therapies, it is essential to identify these needs and to activity express and communicate these concerns to ensure that they experience satisfaction and support in sharing their treatment choices (Azaizeh et.al, 2010). In turn, nurses must be able to express themselves and address concerns in an open and honest manner to support successful health outcomes and wellbeing (Azaizeh et.al, 2010).
The utilization of complementary and alternative medicine therapies requires an effective understanding of these therapies and cultures where they are preferred over traditional options. It is important for nurses to actively communicate with patients from diverse cultures and to recognize the most appropriate treatments for consideration. Patients, in turn, must be permitted to express themselves and to share their preferences regarding CAM therapies during the treatment phase. Therefore, Riverbend City and its population must engage in open dialogues regarding these treatments so that patient needs are well understood. These efforts are also important because they reflect the challenges associated with patient care and treatment in nontraditional settings where cultural needs and expectations are relevant. Nurses must work proactively with patients in these settings in order to make effective decisions regarding treatment needs for patients from diverse cultures. These settings are instrumental in expanding nursing knowledge and understanding of cultural diversity and identity.
Azaizeh, H., Saad, B., Cooper, E., and Said, O. (2010). Traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine, a re-emerging health aid. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7(4), 419-424.
Frass, M., Strassl, R.P., Friehs, H., Mullner, M., Kuridi, M., and Kaye, A.D. (2012). Use and acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine among the general population and medical personnel: a systematic review. The Ochsner Journal, 12(1), 45-56.
Hsu, C., Cherkin, D.C., Hoffmeyer, S., Sherman, K.J., and Phillips, W.R. (2011). Patient and clinician openness to including a broader range of healing options in primary care. Annals of Family Medicine, 9(5), 447-453.
Zhang, Y., Peck, K., Spalding, M., Jones, B.G., and Cook, R.L. (2012). Discrepancy between patients’ use of and health providers’ familiarity with CAM. Patient Education and Counseling, 89(3), 399-404.